Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Persecuted

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Verses 10-12 all talk about Persecution. Jesus said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” but he does not stop there. He actually personalizes this beatitude, by saying “Blessed are YOU, when men revile and persecute you falsely, for my [Name] sake”, and encourages those being persecuted from being not just glad, but exceedingly glad, for great is their reward in heaven. (Matthew 5:10-12).

To be blessed, one must have the attitude of being exceedingly glad when persecuted for bearing the name of Jesus.

What does it mean to be persecuted? What does “for theirs (who are persecuted) in the kingdom of heaven” mean? According to the Bible, those who are godly in Christ Jesus can be assured of suffering persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). This implies that persecution is an attribute of living a godly life in Jesus Christ. Godly life is different from a good life. There are many who can live a good life and yet not have accepted Jesus Christ as the God of their life, but to be godly IN Christ JESUS means that Jesus is Lord over their life. The godliness comes from God (Jesus Christ) in us, and this means that they they cannot partake of the pleasures of this present world. In other words, the godly in Christ (the persecuted) are sanctified and set apart from the patterns of this world, and they conform to the patterns of the kingdom of heaven (Philippians 3:20).

So you can say, blessed are they/you who are godly in Jesus Christ, for their citizenship is of heaven and not of this world.

Matthew 5:10-12 (KJV)
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

2 Timothy 3:12 (KJV)
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be a Peacemaker

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

To be blessed, one must have the attitude of being a peacemaker.

What does it mean to be a peacemaker and why shall the peacemakers be called the children of God? Before Jesus’ birth, the prophecy by Isaiah entitled Jesus to be The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). At His birth, the heavenly angelic choir sang, ‘peace’ on earth (Luke 2:14). It is possible to have peace on earth, because The Prince of Peace came to earth, to do the will of God the Father, which was to reconcile mankind back to God by redeeming mankind from death and sin. He accomplished this on the Cross, from where he affirmed that God’s work of redeeming mankind to and for Himself was finished. In other words, Jesus’ mission was a mission of restoring peace; a peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and all who put their trust in Jesus with their minds fixed on Him will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Those who have believed in Jesus are covenanted to have a life of peace (Malachi 2:5) as God’s royal priests (1 Peter 2:9). God commands that the life of a priest must be one of peace and uprightness, turning many from sins (iniquities) with the message of God’s Love (Malachi 2:6-7); a love so great that He gave us His only begotten Son, to pay the wages of our sins (which is death), by His very own life (John 3:16). The God given responsibility of a priest is to be a messenger of the Lord (Malachi 2:7); a messenger with the message of peace. In other words, to be a priest is to be a peacemaker, turning many from sin and reconciling mankind to God for we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). And all who are peacemakers, are in essence, emulating the very mission of Jesus Christ, just as a child imitates the character of a parent and in this sense are rightfully called the children of God. God is a God of peace who works to make all perfect (blameless without sin) through the covenant of the blood of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrew 13:20-21), and all who are peacemakers imitate God the Father and are thereby blessed as His children.

Matthew 5:9 (KJV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (KJV)
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Pure (in heart)

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude of being pure (in heart).

The Creator God is not interested in an outward showing of piety or penance as many doctrines of men and world religions prescribe, but God is interested in inward purity i.e., purity of the heart. When the scribes and Pharisees in an accusatory manner questioned Jesus that his disciples did not wash their hands before breaking bread, Jesus astutely yet sternly cautioned them of their double standard and hypocrisy, and expressed a fundamental truth, that it is not what one consumes that defiles a man, but what comes from within (from the heart) (Matthew 15:11). Later when his disciples approached him and asked him if he was offended by the Pharisees and sought clarification of his response, he asked them “Are you also yet without understanding?” before explaining that out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; things which defile a man (Matthew 15:19-20).

So if by nature our heart is prone to defile, then how is it that one can be pure in heart? To be pure means to be untainted, unstained, unblameable, unreproveable, without spot or wrinkle. In other words, to be pure is to be set apart and it is to be holy. This is an impossible edict for man to accomplish by his/her own efforts. No matter how impressive and thorough a self-help program prescribes, no one can be holy by his or her own accord, for in sin are we conceived (Psalm 51:5). There is one only Way to be holy. Jesus said He is THE WAY (John 14:6). The Bible teaches us that Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, can present us unblameable and unreproveable in the sight of God (Colossians 1:22), because he who knew no sin, became sin for us, and died in our stead, so we can be imputed the righteousness (purity/holiness) of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, only Jesus can make us holy i.e., only Jesus can make our hearts pure and clean; without spot or wrinkle. King David’s recognized that out of his heart came thoughts of – evil and murder toward Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, – adultery and fornication (extramarital sex) with Bathsheba, – stealing Uriah’s wife, – false witness and lying (covering the murderous plot of Uriah’s death) and – blasphemies (for what David had done displeased the Lord) (2 Samuel 11). Upon this recognition, king David repented and sought that God would create in him a clean (pure) heart; one that is holy and blameless, in God’s sight. When we repent of our sins, believing in Jesus Christ, he makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), replacing our old heart that defiles with one that is pure and clean (Ezekiel 36:26). Those who are pure in heart are those who have recognized that Jesus is the Only Way to Holiness and have repented asking Him to create in them a clean/pure heart. These are blessed for they shall see God.

What does it mean that one shall see God? God is Spirit (John 4:24),  God is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17), God dwells in an unapproachable light, which no man can see, nor has seen (1 Timothy 6:16).  Then how can God be seen? There is a multi-faceted answer to this which we find in the Bible. First, Jesus is the image of the invisible God, in whom the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:15,19). Second, Jesus said, He is THE LIGHT of the world (John 8:12). Third, when we walk in the light, desiring to be pure (in heart), repenting of our sins, believing in Jesus and asking Him to create in us a clean heart, we have fellowship with God as He is light and is in the light now approachable through Jesus, for Jesus said, all who see me (have fellowship with me) have seen God (the Father) (John 14:8-11). Fourth, all who have believed in Jesus, have been delivered from the power of darkness and been translated to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13), and they shall see God face to face, when He establishes His kingdom on new earth (Revelation 22:4). We see God now through Jesus Christ, we will later see God in Christ, face to face.

Point(s) to ponder:
1. God is pleading, “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins are like scarlet, I will wash you whiter than snow.” (Isaiah 1:18). The vilest offender (of whom I am chief) is not out of the reasoning and reach of God. Reason with Him. Reach out to God.
2. Have you/I heard God’s plea and have we repented of our sins, asking Him to create in us a clean/pure heart? For without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:29) and Only Jesus Christ can make you/I holy, unblameable and unreproveable.
3. God opened the heart (understanding) of Lydia so she could believe in Jesus and be baptized into His kingdom of light (Acts 16:14). Ask God to open your heart (of understanding) so that it can be made pure!

Matthew 5:8 (KJV)
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Hebrews 12:14 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Colossians 1:12-23 (KJV)
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [Jesus Christ]:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Merciful

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude of being merciful.

According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, mercy is compassion or forbearance shown to an offender or to someone who is under one’s power. In other words, mercy is the attitude and act of forgiving because of one’s love/compassion. The Bible says that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In other words, all are sinners and while we were still offenders (sinners), Christ died (showed mercy) for us (Romans 5:8). In fact, God does not desire even in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23-32), but he wills that all be called to repentance and that none perish (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus is most merciful of all, and all who believe in Him receive his mercy for he stands in the gap for them and stays the wrath of God from them. But the cycle of mercy does not end in mere receipt. All who have received mercy are expected to give the same. We learn this from the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35). In fact, interestingly, this beatitude establishes the same fact, that the merciful obtain mercy.

Richard Chenevix Trench, in his work, Notes on the Parables of  our Lord eloquently puts “The Christian stands in a middle point, between a mercy received and a mercy which he yet needs to receive.” Those who have received the mercy of God, must be merciful, so they shall be blessed in obtaining mercy (yet to be received). To be forgiven, we must forgive according to Jesus who taught us this fact in the prayer saying, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, this can be rendered as “Show mercy on us and hold not our debts against us, as we show mercy on those who have offended us.”

We must forgive because we have been forgiven, but we must forgive to be forgiven as well.
We must show mercy, because we have been shown mercy, but we must show mercy to be shown mercy as well. We stand in the middle point. The cycle of mercy is as follows:  Mercy received, Mercy give, Mercy receive.

Matthew 5:7 (KJV)
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 18:33 (KJV)
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Hungry and Thirsty

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude to be hungry and thirsty after righteousness.
What is righteousness and how can one yearn for it? The Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Galatians 3:6). This implies that to believe in Jesus Christ is to be made righteous, by faith. Any other form of righteousness that is NOT imputed by belief in Jesus Christ is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). One must not be satiated or quenched in the Spirit until they have been imputed the righteousness of God. Such imputation comes solely by believing; believing in God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins and accomplished the work of reconciling and redeeming man to God, once and for all.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). In other words, whoever comes and believes in Jesus Christ shall never be left unsatisfied. All who come to Jesus Christ, believing in Him, will be filled.

Have you been imputed the Righteousness of God? i.e., Have you believed in Jesus Christ.? Trust God at his word, if you believe, you shall not go unfilled! Blessed are they which yearn for Christ Jesus, the Righteousness of God, for they shall be imputed Righteousness!

Matthew 5:6 (KJV)
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

John 6:35 (KJV)
35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Meek

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude to be meek.
Moses (who wrote down God’s law for his people) and Jesus (who fulfilled the law and who wrote down God’s grace and mercy for his people) are both described as having been ‘meek’ (Numbers 12:3; Matthew 11:29). God led his people, using Moses, out of a state of physical bondage and captivity from the land of Egypt (Exodus 13, 14) and God continues to lead all the world by his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, out of the state of spiritual bondage of death and captivity under sin (Galatians 5:1). To be meek means to be submissive, but by no means a push-over or someone who is weak. In fact, it is quite the contrary as the word, when used in the Greek New Testament, in the Beatitudes, is πραΰς which is phonetically spelled as prah-ooce’ and transliterated as ‘ praus’ meaning ‘mild or gentle (reserved) with strength’. In other words, to be meek is to have ‘power under control’. The Greek used this term to describe a wild horse that is brought under control by the bit and bridle. The wild horse, even when tamed has no less power than it had before it was tamed. The difference however is that the horse’s power is under control and can be channeled. To be blessed, we must be meek, which means we must have ‘power under control’. To have power under control, we must submit to God. We must submit to his will as Jesus did. We must submit to having God’s power (in us) control and channel our lives as He so desires according to His will, not ours.

In our submission (meekness), to God, we are blessed; blessed to inherit the earth. Inheritance implies being given something or some trait as a right, because of a relationship. Inheritance cannot be earned. So when Jesus says, that the meek shall inherit the earth, it reinforces the fact that the earth and everything in it is the LORD’s (Psalm 24:1). It also establishes the fact that when we submit (be meek) to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, by believing in Him, in faith, and submit to the leading of the Spirit of God, we are adopted into God’s family and we become His children (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 3:26-27). As children, we have the right to inherit what God owns, which would mean we have the right to inherit the earth and its fullness thereof, and so when we submit, being meek, we are given, as an inheritance, this earth and the new earth to come. This earth matters to all who are in Christ, but it is not of great significance to all who are meek, having submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as their citizenship is really of heaven (Philippians 3:20), but in the new earth that God establishes (Revelation 21:1), as this earth will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10) we shall be joint-heirs with Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Romans 8:17, Revelation 19:16) and what a blessed Truth that is.

Matthew 5:5 (KJV)
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

1 Peter 3:4 (KJV)
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be a mourner

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude to be a mourner when our lives grieve the heart of God. Sin grieves God’s heart; God repented that he had made men when he saw their wickedness and his heart was grieved (Genesis 6:5-6). The wages of sin is death and death brings sorrow, but godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). In other words, godly mourning upon the realization of our sin worketh a belief, which leads to comfort and a peace of God that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Furthermore, we must also mourn for all who are captive (Jeremiah 13:17) in the bondage of death, because they have not yet believed or have refused and rejected the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. We must be like the Psalmist who said, “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law”(Psalm 119:53). Our hearts must grieve and we must be a mourner, when we see those around us, perishing , because they blatantly refuse Jesus Christ and forsake His offer of life.

Only Jesus can take a day of your sorrow and turn it into a day of Joy. Only Jesus can turn a mourner into one being comforted.

Matthew 5:4 (KJV)
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
2 corinthians 7:10 (KJV)
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Psalm 119:53

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
Jeremiah 13:17 (KJV)
But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’s flock is carried away captive.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Poor

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude to be poor in spirit. In other words, one must understand that their happiness comes for their acknowledgment of their own spiritual need; that they are poor without Christ Jesus and that only in Christ Jesus is the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory theirs.
It is the acknowledgment of one’s spiritual poverty i.e., the need for Jesus, and the confession of the same, that leads to inheriting the the kingdom of heaven (of grace and glory).

We must always have a need for Jesus i.e., we must always be poor in spirit, so that the kingdom of heaven (grace and glory) can be ours.

Matthew 5:3 (KJV)
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.