What is the message of the Beatitudes?
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In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Christ discussed the nature of His kingdom. The word “blessed” in this context means “happy.” It appears nine times in the Beatitudes. Christ proclaims that the main objective of His kingdom is to restore the lost happiness God originally created us in.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (v. 3). This refers to those who feel spiritual poverty (Isaiah 55:1). None but the “poor in spirit” will ever enter the kingdom of divine grace; all others feel no need of heaven’s riches and decline its blessings. The kingdom Christ came to establish is one that begins within our hearts, fills our lives, and overflows in positive influence on the lives of others with the power of love.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted” (v. 4). Christ refers to those who, in poverty of spirit, long to be rid of sin (Isaiah 6:5; Rom. 7:24). There is also a message of comfort here for those who mourn because of disappointment, bereavement, or other sorrow. As God meets the sense of spiritual need with the riches of the grace of heaven, so He meets the mourning over sin with the comfort of forgiveness.
“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (v. 5). Meekness toward God means that we accept His will and His dealing with us as good and that we submit to Him in all things without hesitation. Eventually, those who humble themselves—those who learn meekness—will be exalted (Matthew 23:12).
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (v. 6). Jesus Himself is the “bread” for which we should hunger, and by partaking of Him we can satisfy the hunger of our souls (John 6:35, 48, 58). The righteousness of Christ is both imputed and imparted. Imputed righteousness brings justification. The justified soul grows in grace through the power of the indwelling Christ by conforming the will and life to God’s moral law. This is imparted righteousness.
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” (v. 7). In Matthew 25:31–46, deeds of mercy are presented as being the test of admission to the kingdom of glory. James includes deeds of mercy in his definition of “pure religion” (James 1:27). The merciful will obtain mercy. This will be true both now and in the day of judgment.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (v. 8). To be “pure in heart” is equivalent to being clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness (Matthew 22:11, 12). To be “pure in heart” does not mean that one is absolutely sinless, but it does mean that one’s motives are right, that by the grace of Christ one has turned their back on past mistakes, and is pressing toward the mark of perfection in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13–15). The pure will certainly behold God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (v. 9). Christ, the Master Peacemaker, came to show us that God is not our enemy. “Peace-makers” are the “sons of God” because they are at peace with Him themselves, and are devoted to the cause of leading others to be at peace with Him.
“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…Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven…” (v. 11-12). Christ refers to the persecution suffered in the process of forsaking the world for the kingdom of heaven. This conflict will go on till the end (Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44; 7:27). But God promises that, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12; Daniel 7:18, 27).
Those who experience the these qualifications for citizenship here are ready for a place in the kingdom of God.
In His service,