is the fact: if you want to start your own religion, it is wise to demand of
your converts things which are hard to do. Don’t eat this; fast on Tuesday.
Do pray seven times a day. All this has the seeming advantage that you can
work your own salvation – and therefore you need not ask for mercy.
placed no outer burdens on us – only those that flow from the tasks of the
heart. Indeed, these beatitudes might well be call “right craving.” Last week
we spoke of what you are; this week, what’s in your heart.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for
they shall be satisfied.
(Mat 5:6 NASB)
we make one obvious point? One does not hunger and thirst if we already have
the object of that desire. I don’t thirst after water; I have plenty. Only
the things we don’t have can be desired this way. Righteousness, therefore, is
not ours. But our Lord does not prescribe obtaining righteousness by our own
hard work (though that hard work will be a result of obtaining it.)
is no trivial desire. Look at the verse again; substitute “want” for “hunger
and thirst.” The meaning becomes trivial; righteousness is then on a par with
wanting a new car. This is passion itself.
may not seem obvious at first, but this passion drives out its opposing sin:
covetousness. How greatly superior it is for us to refrain from coveting that
which belongs to our neighbor so that we may passionately desire the things of
God! This is the antidote to our usual hunger and thirst – avarice. It is the
matter of the heart: you will desire something, and desire it passionately.
Which is the better desire: the new BMW or God’s own righteousness?
shall be satisfied
remember: God’s gifts are greater than all the passion and desire of His
saints. It is always so; His bounty exceeds all that we can desire. So if He
says you will be satisfied, satisfied you will be.
could it be otherwise? Do you crave food? What, then, of the One who is the
very Bread of Life? Are you thirsty? Who is the source of living water?
this will turn you to action – the One who is righteousness itself cleansed the
Temple, you will recall.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
(Mat 5:7 NASB)
must begin by acknowledging that the word translated here as “mercy” has two
meetings in Jewish thought:
may mean mercy in the sense of forgiveness, which is the usual
may also mean giving charitably, as one who has “mercy on the poor” is
loved by God.
enough in the church we find that these are very closely related, for a leading
cause of poverty is dumb decisions. This is also a cause of enmity between
Christians. It is not sufficient to pardon; one must put pardon into practice.
hope it is apparent to you that God is merciful. When we are merciful, we are
imitating God – which is commanded to the Christian.
Indeed, what a bargain! We give the forgiveness of mankind – corrupt and
imperfect as it is – and our Lord returns to us the mercy of God: greater than
all our sins, pure in love, and more than sufficient for us.
is this imitation of divine mercy that makes our mercy real, for we can call on
Him to sustain us in this. When we do this mercy, it is not only real, but
regal – from the King of Kings, through us and on to the children of God.
opposing sin is indeed a deadly one: vengeance. Vengeance may be taken in
violence. But the vengeance of sneering at your fallen opponent is every bit
as deadly a sin. Justice and mercy need to be mingled into a common stream;
indeed, there is no mercy unless justice exists first.
in his Merchant of Venice, expressed it this way:
“The quality of mercy is
as the gentle rain from heaven
place beneath. It is twice blessed;
him who gives, and him who takes:
mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch
better than his crown
It is an
attribute of God himself;
power doth then show likest God’s,
seasons justice. -
justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the
course of justice, none of us
salvation. We do pray for mercy;
same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of
Why, all the
souls that are, were forfeit once:
And he who
might the ’vantage best have took
the remedy. How would you be,
If He who is
the top of judgment should
you as you are? O! think on that;
then will breathe within your lips,
How shalt thou hope for
mercy, rend’ring none?”
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(Mat 5:8 NASB)
of the marvels of modern technology is the Hubble telescope. It orbits the
earth, lifting it above the atmosphere. Totally automated, it has greatly
expanded our knowledge of the universe. But when it first arrived, the
scientists were shocked to discover that the lenses were not ground correctly.
A Space Shuttle mission (and a few million dollars) were required to fix it.
truth of the matter: no matter how much it costs, you cannot see perfectly
with an imperfect instrument. And the proper instrument for seeing God is the
what lessons may we learn on this?
the windows are dirty, then clean them – to let the light in. Your heart
is the window of the soul; keep it clean and the Light of Life will pass through
doesn’t matter how clean the path is, if the instrument is defective.
Hubble sees problems, not stars. Your own eye, if it is strong, welcomes
the light. If it is weak, you squint and get your sunglasses.
then, keep your heart pure, and it will see.
puts it this way:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will
know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His
inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power
toward us who believe. These are in
accordance with the working of the strength of His might
(Eph 1:18-19 NASB)
pure heart is the perfection of our love for God – and allows us to see hope,
riches and surpassing greatness from God.
there a sin which opposes the pure heart? Indeed there is: hypocrisy. We
need say no more than that.
this really important? Indeed, it is. We walk by faith, and see dimly. At
His return we shall see face to face. It is one of the oldest promises in the
after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself
shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within
(Job 19:26-27 NASB)
may not think these things too important, as they are seldom visible. But I
must remind you: the Creator longs for the day that all the world may see Him
reflected in His creatures.
The heart that
hungers and thirsts for righteousness – so that the world may know the One who
The heart that is
merciful – so that mercy may be seen with judgment.
The heart that is
pure – so that all will know, this is the real thing.