Two young children were adopted. To make the children feel better about having been abandoned by their birth parents, the adopted parents emphasized how special they were. They said, “most parents do not have a choice who their children will be, but we chose you!”
In God’s sight, we are special. God wants to bless us. One of the Lord’s primary concerns is that we know the secret of happiness. The greatness of the Beatitudes is that they are a great spiritual joy that we can experience permanently. The word “Beatitudes” means “divine favour” (Young’s Bible Dictionary). The Beatitudes are a written grant of specific rights for those of us who have been born again. Living in the kingdom of God (Heaven) with benefits such as being comforted, satisfied, obtaining mercy, and inheriting the promised land.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount begins with a theme of happiness. The word “blessedness” may be a better word than “happiness.” It is because in the Beatitudes a person may not understand what it means. It is not about seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. Human happiness is dependent upon the difficulties of life, and we live in an imperfect world!
In Matthew’s Gospel blessedness or happiness is the result of a way of life. It dwells within our souls. It is evident in our conduct. We who are born-again believers have an unruffled joy that comes from walking with the Lord. A joy that seeks us through our pain, our sorrow, our tears, and our grief. Praise the Lord, even the circumstances that surround us cannot take away this kind of joy. Happiness or blessedness is a by-product of a way of life.
The blessedness which belongs to us who are born again is not a blessedness that is postponed for some future date. It is a blessedness that exists here and now. However, it will be a greater
when we are in the presence of God. In effect, the Beatitudes say, “(Oh) the bliss of being a Christian! (Oh) the joy of following Christ! (Oh) the sheer happiness of knowing Jesus Christ as Master, (Savior) and Lord. Young’s Bible Dictionary says “God’s Kingdom is here now in the hearts of men and will be established on the earth for a time before it becomes eternal.
Jesus had watched and searched for the type of righteousness that was called righteous in His days on earth. That righteousness fell short of His standard. The key to experiencing happiness or blessedness is to follow a new standard of living. That standard is outlined in the Sermon on the Mount, written in chapters five through seven in the Gospel of Matthew.
Jesus says Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Among theologians, in Matthews Gospel, there are some differences of opinion about the meaning of the word “perfect.”
A Scottish theologian, whose name is William Barclay, says the word “perfect” in Matthew means we are perfect if we realize the purpose for which we were created and sent into the world. It also includes fulfilling the purpose for which God has created us.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says the word “perfect” is used of persons. Complete, conveying the idea of goodness without necessary reference to maturity or what is expressed under Matthew 5: 48.
John MacArthur says, “Though this standard (of perfection) is impossible to meet, God could not lower it without compromising His perfection. He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the gospel is that Christ has met this standard on our behalf.”
In the story of creation, God said. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’… (Genesis 1:26). The whole teaching of the Bible is that we only realize our manhood or womanhood by becoming godlike.
Unfortunately, some professing Christians today are like what the world values. But Jesus expects us to put into practice what He teaches. It is more than just obeying His commandments. It involves a certain kind of character that relies upon such things as humility, loyalty, and courage. The desire of His people must be to glorify Him.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
(Matthew 5:3, WEB).
Jesus is not talking about material poverty. Neither is He saying it is good to live in a poverty-stricken area or to be hungry. Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him (James 2:5)? Matthew 3:2 says, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Matthew 4:17 says, from that time, Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It is not a mere change of mind, regret, or remorse. To be rich in faith is to inherit the Kingdom he promised those who love Him. John the Baptist speaks of repentance as a radical turning from sin that inevitably becomes manifest in the fruits of righteousness.
In Hebrew, the words (“Blessed are the poor”) … underwent a four-stage development of meaning. 1. They began by meaning simply poor. 2. They went on to mean, because poor, therefore having no influence or power, or help, or prestige. 3. They went on to mean because having no influence therefore downtrodden and oppressed by men. 4. Finally, they came to describe the man who, because he has no earthly resources puts his whole trust in God.
If a man has realized his utter helplessness and has put his whole trust in God… He will become completely detached from things, for he will know that things have not gotten it in them to bring happiness or security; and he will become completely attached to God, for he will know that God alone will give him help, and hope, and strength. The man who is poor in spirit is the man who has realized that things mean nothing, that God means everything.
A person who is poor in spirit has the right attitude about sin. Jesus’ emphasis is on the spirit which is the inner part of man, and the body is the outer part. In the phrase “happy are the poor in spirit” Jesus was teaching that a man who is begging on the inside is happy (Isaiah 66: 2, Psalm 3-4,18; 51:17; Isaiah 57:15). God identifies with people or spiritual beggars not with those who are self-sufficient. Being poor in spirit is not the same thing as being lazy or indifferent. The poor in spirit have no sense of self-sufficiency and recognizes he is spiritually bankrupt (read James 4:10). That kind of poverty represents a deep submission to God. Admitting your weaknesses is the beginning of happiness but that’s one of the hardest things you will ever do. You must first be poor in spirit and know that you can do nothing on your own. It is that kind of attitude you must have to be saved and it is also the way you should live. The word “poor” describes a man who must work for his living …, a man who serves his own needs with his own hands … a man who is not rich but who is not destitute either. It describes the man … who has nothing at all. … a man who is miserable and completely poverty-stricken. Blessed is the destitute man.
Why must a Christian be poor in spirit? 1. Humility leads to the right knowledge of God. A new standard of living, being poor in spirit it’s a fundamental characteristic of a Christian. No one will enter the Christ Kingdom based on the pride-the doorway into the Kingdom is extremely low and must be crawled through. The sooner we realize we are incapable of obtaining the standard Christ
calls us to the closer we are to finding the one who can help us attain that standard that calls for humility. 2 Humility leads to a right knowledge of Christ. Christ doesn’t become precious to us until we are humble. When we preoccupy ourselves with our wants and needs, we can’t see the love or worth of Christ. Until we see our poverty, we can’t see his richest spirit no man enters the Kingdom without understanding his sinfulness and realizing his need to repent. Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to Yahweh (the Lord): they shall certainly not be unpunished (Proverbs 16:5).
Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him (James 2:5)?
John the Baptist speaks of repentance as a radical turning from sin that inevitably became manifest in the fruit of righteousness. Jesus’s first sermon begins with the same imperative (Matthew 4:17).
God blesses those who are faithful to Him. Those who trust Him without any reservation. God blesses those who, when oppressed, is still merciful. They seek to bring about peace. In the Beatitudes, the Lord indicates not only the (the sum of a person’s characteristics) that are blessed but the nature of that which is the highest good (W. E. Vine).
TO LIVE AN ABUNDANT CHRISTIAN LIFE MEANS YOU MUST HAVE
A DAILY PERSONAL LIVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST
By C. Paul Wooderson