The Beatitudes - Part Three

We will be continuing our series on The Beatitudes:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Mat. 5:7, NASU

The usage of the term “mercy” usually denotes a forgiveness of a wrong or a debt, even if the punishment is just. This concept fits well within this context, but the idea found in the original language means much more. The “mercy” which Jesus is describing means choosing to do something or give something to another, without obligation or cost. This can be money, one’s own time, one’s own skills in labor, or any other form of service – also including the forgiveness of a wrongdoing. The simple meaning of this intriguing concept is that one who is willing to serve others, without obligation, is apt to receive similar service themselves. It squares well with the later “Golden Rule” of Jesus Christ (Mat. 7:12). It also squares well with the responsibility to forgive others if we hope to ourselves be forgiven (Mat. 6:14, 15).

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Mat. 5:8, NASU

Much of what Jesus Christ discusses in the Sermon on the Mount focuses upon the difference between “outward piety” and “inward piety.” The Jews were well familiar with grand displays of “outward piety” by the scribes and Pharisees (cf. Mat. 6:1-8). It is important to notice that Jesus focuses upon purity of heart – the inward part of man. The usage of the term “purity” describes “righteousness” or “blamelessness” – not “sinlessness” which is impossible. In order for one to strive for the goal of purity they must start with the heart, not with the outward part of man. Those who truly have a pure heart, which is perfected in Christ, will one day see God (Heb. 12:14).

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Mat. 5:9, NASU

It is no secret that there are those who wish to sow discord and enmity within the body of Christ. The church has many enemies in the world, chief among them Satan himself. However, a sad truth is that even some within the body of Christ attempt to orchestrate such discord for whatever personal reasons (cf. Pro. 6:19; Isa. 57:21). Understanding that such a dismal reality exists, it is therefore the goal of Christians to seek the ways of peace. A peacemaker strives to bring about harmony – however (and this is important), a peacemaker never settles a dispute at the expense of the truth. There is no peace when one is opposed to the Word of God. Because God is a God of peace (1 Thes. 5:23), when men imitate God as peacemakers, they can be called “sons of God.”

We will conclude our study of the Beatitudes next week.

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