Summary: The Beatitudes are not a list of "TRY HARDER" principles, but characteristics of Children of God at work in God's Kingdom.
The Unveiling of the Kingdom of God: The Beatitudes (2)
We have been looking at the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. The word, “Beatitude” is from the Latin word meaning “to bless”, and so The Beatitudes are sayings by Jesus in which He describes how He BLESSES those whom He chosen as His Kingdom Children. These Beatitudes ARE NOT given to us in order to TRY HARDER to be a Kingdom Kid, but they are the reality of a LIFE THAT HAS BEEN CHANGED from the spirit of the World into the Holy Spirit of the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 5, from last study: 1 ”When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain ; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
I. (vs. 3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (I am spiritually bankrupt, destitute, and KNOW IT)
II. (vs. 4) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (By God’s grace, I have come to a realization of how great my sin really is and I turn to God in REPENTANCE!)
III. (vs. 5) "Blessed are the gentle (meek), for they shall inherit the earth.” (The meek and humble realize how much grace and forgiveness have been received from God and are willing to follow His Word and Will on His terms. The meek live in humility and submissiveness to God’s Sovereignty.)
IV. (vs. 6) "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (I now have a new spiritual diet which desires to please God and follow His standards. I am only truly satisfied and fulfilled when I am pleasing God.)
V. (vs 7) "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” This fifth beatitude could be seen as is a natural result of hungering and thirsting after God: If you are following and feasting on Christ, you are going to start acting like Christ. If you realize what He has done for you, you will not be judgmental to others. How much grace have you received? Just a little from God? NO! An infinite amount! It is only those who are poor in spirit, those who are humble recipients of God’s grace who will naturally extend mercy to others.
Jesus took my penalty for sin and so God has pardoned me instead of judging and punishing me; God has extended help and healing to me in the person and work of Jesus and I can do no less toward others. You extend forgiveness to others because you have received forgiveness from God.
The “world’s” attitude toward those who seeks retribution, but those who have received grace from God, are quick to extend mercy. By the grace of God, we demonstrate the very character of God to others. Extending mercy is the living proof of the living God living in us.
We will find Jesus expounding on this beatitude later in Matthew 18 in the parable of the unmerciful servant: 32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."