The Gospel Message in the Beatitudes (Part 2)

If you have not read Part 1 of this Bible study, we recommend that you do so. Reading Part 1 will provide context for the following text:

Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness

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

The first half of Luke 6:21 contains Luke’s account of this saying. Luke adds the word now which makes it plain that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled later. Think on this deeply. God expects us to desire righteousness. Notice, Jesus uses words that refer to ways of consuming. To consume food is to take it in. Jesus is telling us that we will be filled if we take in righteousness like food and water. This is a repeated theme throughout the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the following verse:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)

Jesus responded to the temptation brought by satan with this powerful message. Jesus Christ was quoting Deut. 8:3. Food cannot truly fill and sustain man. In fact, physical sustenance only has a temporary effect on the life of man. It is the word of God that has an everlasting impact on the life of a person. This is what Jesus has declared. If you want to be truly filled, you must fill up on the words of God.

Jesus made the same point in John 7:37-38. In these verses, Jesus is making an analogy using the word thirst. This refers to desire, the desire of the righteousness codified in the word of God. If you desire the righteousness of God, then you need to come to Jesus in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imparts the righteousness of God in those who the Spirit dwells in. Read Gal. 5:22-25 which summarizes the righteousness imparted by the Spirit that we should walk in. Jesus also told the disciples that the Holy Spirit will bring things He said to their remembrance (John 14:26). Jesus also told them to teach what He taught (Matt. 28:18-20) which was from the Old Testament. The New Testament books are Jesus’ teachings that expounded on the Old Testament. Therefore, the entire Bible is the meat you and I must be filled with. If God has filled you with His Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will bring you into the remembrance of all the words of God, from end to end. You will be filled and sustained by the Spirit and the word.

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

We must drink of the Holy Spirit, the words that proceed from the mouth of God. They are the words that the Father has commanded to be spoken which lead to eternal life (John 12:47-50). The righteousness of God is codified in His word which He gave to men through His Holy Spirit (Ps. 119:172; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:21). The only way to be truly filled is to be fed through the Holy Spirit which will lead to everlasting life.

Even Jesus Christ, while in the flesh, was filled through doing the will of God which is to know and do the words the Father has commanded (John 4:31-34; John 17:16-18).

Blessed are those who desire the righteousness of God, for they will be filled with the living waters of the Holy Spirit and the word of God.

The Merciful

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)

For the most part, this verse is self-explanatory; however, the Bible teaches us that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt.18:16) For this reason, textual support of this teaching must be presented for everyone’s edification.

First, remember that God is merciful to sinners despite what the world teaches (Ex. 20:6). Jesus taught His disciples to be merciful just like the Father (Luke 6:36). According to the Strong’s Concordance, merciful means to be compassionate. Mercy has a special relationship with forgiveness. It is compassion that makes us forgive someone.

Read Matt. 6:9-15. In these verses, Jesus is giving His disciples a sample prayer. In the prayer, He shows us that we must ask God to forgive us as we forgive others (verse 12). This point is so important that Jesus Christ continues to talk about it after He says amen.

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:14-15)

According to Jesus Christ, forgiveness from the Father is contingent upon you forgiving others. If we intend to obtain mercy from God, we must extend mercy to others by forgiving them. To put it more bluntly, this is a salvific issue. Access to eternal life is through the mercy and forgiveness of God, but His grace will not be extended to you if you do not extend mercy to those who have wronged you. Be sure to read the parable of the unforgiving servant which can be found in Matt. 18:13-35.

Blessed is the compassionate for they shall obtain compassion from God the Father.

The Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

The Greek word translated into pure means clean or pure. Jesus is explaining how those who have a pure or a clean heart will see God. The things you say and do show what is in your heart (Matt. 12:34-35; Matt. 7:16-20). The purity of your heart becomes visible by your actions which are your words and deeds. Also read Matt. 15:18-20 which makes this point plain. Clearly, these verses are not discussing making unclean foods clean because Jesus and the Pharisees are referring to unwashed hands. Jesus was attacking the impurity that resided in the hearts of the Pharisees. He powerfully proclaimed that the uncleanness of man is exposed by his words which speaks forth from the evil in his heart. Those who maintain and harbor evil in their hearts will not see God.

The phrase shall see means to behold in the Greek. Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God. Yes, those who take part in the first resurrection will be with the Lord Jesus Christ, but Jesus teaches us that they will see the Father too (Rev. 21:1-7). This is a luxury reserved for the pure in heart.

Be sure to read 1 John 3:1-3 as well. The apostle John explains how the hope of seeing God in full glory purifies us. Why would this hope purify someone? If this hope is really in you, then it will drive your words and deeds!!! Notice what John says next:

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (1 John 3:4-6)

The hope of seeing and being with God the Father and the Lord Jesus will lead you away from sin. This hope will drive your character!!! Regardless of what many preachers teach, being with God has everything to do with your actions. Some will try to call this works-based salvation, but it’s not. The word of God says there are works that prove your faith (James 2:15-18). These works aren’t superficial rituals as taught by some denominations. These works are the works of godly character. God expects us to be righteous as He is (1 John 3:7-10). How can you be righteous without righteous action? The righteous do not hide in caves doing absolutely nothing. They maintain good works that cause others to glorify the Father (Matt. 5:16).  

At this point, it is important to reiterate that what you say and do shows forth the purity of your heart. The actions themselves do not make you pure. They are a manifestation of your purity. “Righteous” deeds can be done by those with impure hearts for vain glory (Matt. 6: 1-5). Be sure to do what’s right because it’s right and not for a pat on the back. If you’re doing what’s right for the praise of men, then you’ve proven your heart isn’t pure.

Those who allow God to correct them to keep their hearts pure will be resurrected and will see God in the world to come. Let’s look at some examples of this.

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Ps. 17:15)

David declares something very beautiful. It is the same message we read in John’s first epistle. The pure in heart will awake (rise from the dead) with God’s likeness and behold His face. There will also be some who are still alive at the second coming of Jesus Christ who will be given God’s likeness as well. Remember, David is said to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). Even though he fell into sin as all men do, David’s heart was pure. He begged God to clean him and keep his heart pure (Ps. 51:6-10). David knew what Jesus explained, that those with a clean heart will see God.

Did you know that Job understood the same thing? Read Job 19:25-27. Job pointed out that he knew that his flesh will be brought back to life. He was talking about the resurrection of the saints. He also explains that God will be on earth. Be sure to read these verses a couple of times. Job was a very righteous man though he needed to overcome self-righteousness (Job 1:1). Suffice it to say, Job had a pure heart and he knew in the resurrection he would see God when He comes to establish His kingdom on this earth.

The saints of the past fully understood the reward of the pure in heart. The apostle John, the apostle Paul, Job, and many others all report the same fact. The pure in heart will see God in the kingdom He will establish on earth and be with Him forever. This is what God has instore for those who love Him.

Blessed be those whose hearts are clean before God, for they shall see Him in His kingdom.

Part 3 of this study is coming soon!!!

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