No one can live up to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
Many have tried to, but it exposes our spiritual depravity.
A proper view of the Sermon on the Mount always points to Gods
grace, and then tells us how we are to live as Gods redeemed people. When we examine
the nature of the kingdom of God we realize our depravity, and our need for the atoning
death of Jesus Christ. This sermon of Jesus forces us to turn to Jesus Christ for
salvation, and then demonstrates how we are to live as believers. When we study it we
realize that we cannot possibly live up to its demands without Gods saving grace in
Here is a description of the person who has received the special
favor of Gods grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This person lives above the
chances, changes and circumstances of life. What are the spiritual characteristics of
someone who is blessed by God?
The person described as
(makarios) is identified with pure character. It is a sense of Gods
approval founded in righteousness. He is the spiritually prosperous person because
he has experienced Gods favor.
Blessed are the poor in
spirit (v. 3). The word poor is used for a person in abject poverty
who begs for everything he eats. However, Jesus is not advocating living in poverty. I see
the ravages of poverty every day where I live and there is nothing good about it. Jesus is
stressing our spiritual poverty in relationship with God. It is to be bankrupt
spiritually. We cannot do anything to affect a right relationship with God because we are
sinners. We are spiritual beggars. It is to be in utter spiritual destitution and helpless
before God (Rom. 5:6; Isa. 1:6; 6:5). The only thing we can do is plead for Gods
mercy and cast ourselves upon His saving grace in Christ. To be poor in spirit
is to confess that I am a sinner, and that I cannot save myself.
Blessed are those who
mourn (v. 4). The idea is to mourn as one is mourning for the dead. It is to
mourn over our depraved spiritual condition. It is spiritual grief manifested which is too
deep to conceal. It is a deep sense of conviction of sin. The comfort that comes is the
effect of the saving gospel. God comforts us when we confess our spiritual poverty before
Him and believe on Christ Jesus as our Savior. The Holy Spirit comforts those who mourn
over their sin.
Blessed are the gentle
(v. 5). The King James Version uses the word meek. Jesus is describing the
person who quietly submits himself to God. He accepts the true view of himself under
Gods control. Here is the God-controlled person who yields every passion of his life
to the Holy Spirit. There is an absence of pride in a life in submission to the will of
Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness (v. 6). Jesus is stressing the
actual righteousness of the believer who yields his daily life to Christ
and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is the imparted righteousness
of Christ living in us that characterizes our lives (vv. 10, 20; 6:1,
33). We depend, not upon our own efforts to achieve righteousness, but
upon God to produce it in us. This is a righteousness freely given to us
and received by God's grace. It is not self-righteousness. The
spiritually prosperous person hungers and thirsts for it. The person who
has a strong intense desire for a right relationship with God will also
want to live that way.
This righteousness is a gift of God to the person
who confesses his spiritual poverty. It is not something we can produce
in our own self. God in grace fulfills the longing in our hearts for
this right standing before God. God fulfills His promise in full
Do we have a passion to produce God’s kind of
righteousness in our lives? The only way a believer can have a right
relationship before God is through Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
How then shall we live? The gift comes to those who seek it
wholeheartedly, but not of themselves; it is a gift of God. Only those
who “hunger and thirst” after righteousness will be “filled.”
Christ brings about a radical change in our lives. We are new
creatures in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). He creates a hungering and thirsting, like a beggar, to be
like Christ. Just as it is
impossible for a sinner to be justified by good works of
self-righteousness, it is just as impossible for a justified sinner to
live without producing good works as a result of a right relationship
Blessed are the
merciful (v. 7). This is the character of the believer who has received
Gods mercy. We do not deserve it, but Christ had mercy on us and saved us. We give
back what we receive. God has been merciful to us; therefore we treat others with that
same kind of mercy. It is compassion in action. We see the hurt caused by sin in others
and we want to do something about it.
Blessed are the pure in
heart (v. 8). Those who have experienced the purifying influence of the
Holy Spirit become pure in heart. Only the pure in heart will see God.
One day we will experience our full redemption and when He appears, we shall be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). The next verse tells us, And
every one who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (v.
3). Do you have that single eyed devotion with absolutely unmixed motives focused on
Blessed are the
peacemakers (v. 9). Once you have experienced peace with God you want to tell
everyone about it. You tell other beggars where they can find the Bread of Life and feast
Blessed are those who are
persecuted because of righteousness (vv. 10-12). This is the
acid test of our new relationship with God. The emphasis is on the
persecution that comes to all believers because they are like Christ. If you have a right
relationship with God through His free grace you will be persecuted. The world system
hates Christ and His values, and it will hate you, too. Persecution demonstrates that we
are in the company of the committed.
The Beatitudes of Jesus Series of 10 full length
messages on Jesus' Beatitudes. "If you want to have power in your life and to be
blessed, go straight to the Sermon on the Mount. . . .as you do so the promised blessings
will come . . . it is a description of what we Christians are meant to be . . . " (D.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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