And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 19, Number
In this issue:
The word "beatitude" is transliterated from the Latin "beatus" which is equivalent to the English word "blessed," translated from Greek (makarios).
These "beatitudes" are not simple statements, but exclamations. Literally, each sentence reads, "O the blessedness of…" Though the Greek word for "blessed" is often translated "happy," the reward must not be reduced to mere happiness. Fundamentally, the word means to be approved, and there is no higher blessing than to be approved by God.
The Beatitudes include eight different characteristics which are to be interwoven into one spiritual fabric describing the ideal citizen of the kingdom of heaven. These qualities do not come instinctively; they must be developed. When an individual commits himself to the Lord and sincerely develops these attributes, he will stand blessed, approved of God. It is then he will truly understand the peace that surpasses all understanding.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3).
The "poor in spirit" are those who recognize their need for God in all things. Therefore, they become detached from "things" and attached to God. Their attitude goes from "My will" to Thy will be done." These are the real citizens under the rule of God.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4).
The word "mourn" literally means "to bewail, lament, mourn for." This beatitude is not speaking about the mourning one does over the loss of a loved one, but rather Jesus advocating "godly sorrow" for one's sins. Sorrow according to the will of God produces repentance like the psalmist wrote, "For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin" (Psa. 38:18). They mourn over the cause of their separation from God. Repenting of sin, they have the assurance of forgiveness, therefore, consolation and peace of hear results.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5).
The word "meek" carries the idea of both gentleness as well as strength. In speaking of Moses and Jesus the Bible identifies "meek" as strong, not weak. Meekness willingly submits to every command of God. A meek individual not only has the promise of an eternal inheritance, but understands the purpose of this life and enjoys it to the fullest.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).
Hunger and thirst are considered to be some of the strongest appetites or desires of man. This beatitude recognizes that man needs more than food and drink for the Body. Citizens of God's kingdom have the earnest desire, even ardent craving, for righteousness. The Psalmist states, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psa.42:1-2). Those who hunger for righteousness will be filled when they go to God's word, the Bread of life.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt. 5:7)
Mercy is the loving response of compassion
that relieves the hurt, assists the downtrodden, and forgives the sinner.
Our God is the "Father of mercies" (2 Cor. 1:3), and Jesus is our merciful
and faithful High Priest, Heb. 2:17-18. If we are merciful, we shall obtain
mercy (James 2:13).
The word pure means, "sincere, unfeigned, upright, void of evil." Simply put, to be pure in heart is to sincerely serve God in holiness. The pure in heart understand the divine power of God, and they come to know God in a real sense as children who enjoy a spiritual relationship with Him.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9).
The peace that is found in the Lord is far different from the kind of peace ordinarily sought by the world. The world thinks in terms of now war, no financial worries, or no sickness and trouble. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). This peace is the result of reconciliation with God from whom man has separated himself by sin. "A peacemaker reflects the heavenly Father's character, thus the reward is that such an one will be called the child of "the God of Peace," (Rom 15:33) (Harkrider).
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake" (Matt. 5:10-11).
Jesus suffered unto death that we might
live! Persecution serves as a token that one has become a partaker in the
sufferings of Christ. Suffering for Righteousness sake means one has
entrusted their soul to a faithful Creator in doing what is right according
to the Will of the Father. Evil doers persecute because they see the
character of the righteous going against their character and revealing their
ungodliness. The one who suffers persecution for the cause of Christ must
always remember the promised reward of eternal life in heaven (1 John 5:13).
Up and down in the land, day in and day out, by young and by old the banal little protest, "Don't preach to me!" is heard. I cannot use it. My understanding, my conscience, and the needs of my soul won't allow me. The Son of God came preaching. He died that the gospel of heaven might be proclaimed to lost and dying humanity. It has pleased God by the preaching that the world labels "foolishness" to save those who will believe (1 Corinthians 1:21). So, I say, "Preach to me!"
But when you do so, make certain that it is heaven's will and wisdom, and not man's philosophy and psychology. Hold up God's mirror that I might see myself as I am (James 1:2-25). Use the Spirit's sword to discern the very thoughts and intents of my heart (Hebrews 4:12). Tell me what God wants me to know, and believe, and do, and become. Seek not to please me, but to persuade me; not to soothe me but to save me; not to entertain me, but to enlighten me.
Preach that which I need to hear and not that which you think I want to hear. Tell me of my blessings that I might be grateful, my responsibilities that I might be faithful, and my opportunities that I might be diligent; but shun not to tell me of my sins, my transgressions, my neglect, my imperfections. At the risk of offending me and even of making an enemy of me, preach to me the whole counsel o God (Acts 20:27) -- for in telling me the truth you are not my enemy, but my friend and God's servant. With fear of God, reverence for the truth, love for souls, and concern for duty PREACH TO ME!
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/16/2016
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA