In the first 4 beatitudes, Jesus reveals that the kingdom of God belongs to those who owe everything to divine mercy. He shatters the pious notion that self-determination and self-righteousness are enough to earn our way to God. Rather, the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit – to those who, recognizing their brokenness, posture themselves in a position of humility and dependence on the Savior. The last 4 beatitudes illustrate the fruit of that dependence.
Perhaps one of the most powerful and accurate metaphors for the life of a Christ-follower is that of OVERFLOW. The realization and reality that we cannot give what we do not have. Our good works and righteous deeds are the overflow of the Spirit’s life within us, not the way to salvation, but the result of salvation. We give mercy because we have received mercy. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We love because He has first loved us.
From the wretched sinners who are shown mercy when expecting punishment, grace when deserving wrath, mercy flows like a fountain. How can those pardoned by a holy God withhold forgiveness from anyone?
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)
In hearts made new by the blood of the lamb grows a passionate desire to put sin to death and walk in purity with God. The more we taste the goodness of the Lord, the less we tolerate that which displeases Him.
I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
To the ones reconciled to God through Christ belongs the ministry of reconciliation. Those who enjoy the blessings of peace with God become, themselves, peacemakers.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. (Romans 14:19)
Finally, saints surrendered as living sacrifices gladly endure suffering for His name’s sake. The world does not know us because it did not know Him. It does not understand us because it did not understand Him. And as Christ was honored for His obedience to the Father, so are we blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness.
If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. (1 Peter 4:14-16)
The kingdom of God belongs to us who realize we’ve already been given more than we deserve and everything we need. We live and minister and serve from a place of abundance. Mercy, peace and love overflow from a heart connected to the source of mercy, peace and love. And we receive blessing upon blessing as the children of the King!
Held by Him,