The Beatitudes has become, I fear—in our new culturally acceptable world of christian service—a neglected study. Tony Campolo lamented,
“If we were to set out to establish a religion in polar opposition to the Beatitudes Jesus taught, it would look strikingly similar to the pop Christianity that has taken over the airwaves of North America.”
As harsh as that sounds, it rings truer than most believers in a civilized culture want to admit. The seven beatitudes clarify to our understanding the orderly progress of God’s work in a believer’s life, perception, heart, that transforms him or her into a faithful and emboldened follower of Christ.
In an overview, the first four are signs God is creating in us the heart of a faithful servant.
- They are ever aware of and grateful for their dependency upon their Lord. Matthew 5:3
- They develop an increasing appreciation for what pleases Him and conversely a sadness over what grieves Him; Matthew 5:4
- They serve Him willingly. Their service is more a part of who they are and spontaneous. Matthew 5:5
- Their service speaks highly of Him in that larger circle of the world. Matthew 5:6
God now has someone He can make into a giver, the fifth beatitude. Matthew 5:7
True servants are givers, not takers. They are pure of heart, genuine, not sordid motive, sincere, non-hypocritical, transparent. [An impure motive is characteristic of someone who is seeking to get or take something. It is not characteristic of a giver.] Their service to God is driven solely in service to Him and not tainted with self-interest—The sixth beatitude. [Matthew 5:8; I Corinthians 10:31] This is in effect a six stage work of grace, but there is one more:
“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Not peacekeepers, not policing a corrupt world, not upholding any code of law or attempting to legislate righteousness or bring about a peace from chaos.
Peacemakers, a word found only here and in Proverbs 10:10 (only in the Septuagint, cp the RSV), defines the sons and daughters of God. Peacemakers are governed by the holiness of God. Projecting peace, making peace, is a condition of God’s world, heaven.
Psalm 37:31 (KJV) The law of his God [is] in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
The commentary summarizes,
“The seven beatitudes form an ascending line, in which the new life is traced from stage to stage, from its commencement to its completion. At the basis we have poverty in spirit…. Manifestly, each of the beatitudes expresses a new relationship toward God, and, side-by-side with it, a new relationship toward the world.”
These seven beatitudes represent a two-fold lesson in truth:
In this life: The ultimate test of a disciple’s commitment and dedication to the Lord is their ability to represent the Good News—as only good news can be represented—with
an undying hope, an enduring peace, an unconquerable love, an unquestioning faith, and
an unquenchable joy.
The ultimate test of a disciple’s commitment and dedication to the Lord is their ability to represent the Good News—as only good news can be represented—with
- an undying hope,
- an enduring peace,
- an unconquerable love,
- an unquestioning faith, and
- an unquenchable joy.
In the life to come: herein is the description of the inhabitants of God’s heavenly kingdom. “…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …they will inherit the earth. …they will see God. …they will be called children of God. …theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“
We are being transformed in citizens of heaven. In a word: saints.