101: Introduction to the Beatitudes

Introduction to The Beatitudes

When Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount He began His discourse by giving a collection of eight character traits (or we could say “qualities of being, be – attitudes” – the attitudes His followers should “be”).  These eight character traits have come to be called “The Beatitudes”.

Each character trait in this collection begin with the words “blessed are” followed by certain virtues that believers are to incorporate into their lives if they want to be Christ’s disciples. For those who answer God’s call to come and follow Him and to walk as Jesus walked when He was a man here on earth; these are the virtues that His followers must be internalizing into their character.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:  5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them…..

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

5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

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

5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

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

5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

These eight Beatitudes describe godly spiritual character traits of those who choose to humbly submit themselves to the will of God; and at the beginning of each description of these traits Jesus adds the fact that the ones who do them are “blessed”.

Even though these eight characteristics are listed separately, they are a total package; and unlike the gifts of the Spirit in which a certain gift (or gifts) is given to certain individuals and all gifts are not the same, all eight Beatitudes apply to every child of God; all believers are called to exemplify all eight of these godly virtues. We cannot choose as to which ones fit our personalities or temperament best and then leave out the others. Whatever our natural predisposition may be, all of the Beatitudes are for all of Christ’s followers and they need to be understood as a whole, and taken as an entirety even though they are listed separately. 

The very first Beatitude is of being “poor in spirit”. This Beatitude is about acknowledging our need for God and the essential poverty and short-sighted limitations of our own efforts in becoming righteous. We are to become poor in the spirit of man, for in our human nature we are naturally at enmity against the things of God.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart [spirit of man]  is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded [following the spirit in man, and not the Spirit of God] is death; but to be spiritually minded [following the Spirit of God] is life and peace. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

From this attitude of contriteness and brokenness which Christ lists first, the other Beatitudes flow. The Beatitudes are like links in a chain, each leads to the next until the last one in  Jesus list is: “blessed are those who are persecuted for My names’ sake”.  The end result is that those who practice the Beatitudes as a way of life will most certainly reap persecution from the world. But to be persecuted too, shows that Christ’s disciples are blessed, for they are persecuted because they belong to God.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

But be of good cheer, for Christ also says great is your reward if you are persecuted in this life. 

The Beatitudes may at first seem impossible to live out, but God gives us the help we need when we seek after His Holy Spirit and we are walking in that spirit and not in our own human spirit. The Beatitudes describe what it means to live as a child of God who is being trained and fashioned to be a king and priest in His Kingdom. We are to be learning how to live by them now, growing day by day in these spiritual ways of God, while at the same time overcoming our carnal nature as we live our lives.

These virtues are the qualities of God’s divine nature, the qualities that God has; and the qualities that Jesus exemplified perfectly when He was here on earth as a human being.

Blessed Are They….

Blessed are they that do all eight of the Beatitudes just as Jesus taught His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. In addition to being blessed because we are living according to the Beatitudes, there is also a specific promise attached to each one. Since all believers are to be exhibiting all of the Beatitudes as a total package, then all of the promises are a package of the all blessings that will be theirs if they have incorporated the Beatitudes into their hearts and minds and live by them in their day to day conduct.

What are the eight promises to those who are internalizing the Beatitudes into their character and who are faithfully striving to live by every Word of God? Each Beatitude concludes with a specific promise:

1 For theirs is the kingdom of heaven

2 They shall be comforted

3 They shall inherit the earth

4 They shall be filled

5 They shall obtain mercy

6 They shall see God

7 They shall be called the children of God

8 Great is their reward in heaven

And not only are Christ’s faithful followers to received these promises in the future, but there is a blessedness from living a life of obedience and seeking to please and be like our heavenly Father in this life as well. This kind of life contains a certain “joy” that is unlike anything that can be attained from what this world has to offer.

The Greek word used for “blessed” is makarios (Strong’s #3107) and simply means “happy” or “blessed”.

The English definition of the word “blessed” from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is: 1. Blessed, hallowed; holy 2. Favored with blessings; blissful; joyful 3. Enjoying, or pertaining to, spiritual happiness; beatified.

The Hebrew word translated for “blessed” is asher (Strong’s #835) and is defined in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as: Or rasher {aw-share’}; a primitive root; to be straight (used in the widest sense, especially to be level, right, happy); figuratively, to go forward, be honest, proper (call, be) bless(-ed, happy), go, guide, lead, relieve. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

So we see that the root of the Hebrew word, “asher“, means “to be straight” or “right”. If a man or woman is right or straight with God, that person will be approved of God and therefore he can be happy, content, (i.e., BLESSED)!

Psalm 128:1 Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

The Beginning of Jesus Ministry

As we begin the study of the Beatitudes we need to look at the course of events that led up to the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus taught about the Beatitudes; therefore we must first go back to the previous chapter.

In the fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, we read that after Jesus was baptized, He was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After successfully resisting Satan’s temptations, Jesus left Nazareth and went to dwell in Capernaum. It was at this point in Jesus’ life that He began His earthly ministry. His first message to mankind after His trial in the wilderness as recorded in the Bible was: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

About this time Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and seeing two fishermen who were brothers, He called them to be His disciples. They instantly left their nets and their fishing companions and followed Him. Further along, Jesus saw two other fishermen who were also brothers that were mending their nets in their father’s ship, and Jesus called them also to come and follow Him and they too left their nets.

The first two brothers were Simon (called Peter) and Andrew; and the second set of brothers were James and John who were the sons of Zebedee. Scripture tells us that Jesus simply said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) In verse 20, it says that they immediately dropped their nets and followed Him.

In Matthew 4:23-25 we learn that as Jesus and His disciples traveled throughout Galilee and as He taught and preached the Gospel, He healed all kinds of diseases and cast out many demons among the people who came to Him.. He became well known for His miraculous works and as a result great multitudes came from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from the other side of the Jordan and began to follow Him. This could mean that they followed Jesus from place to place because of the miracles and not necessarily that they became His followers (or disciples).

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

The Disciples of Christ

What kind of people did Christ draw when He preached to the masses? In the above Bible passage we are told that as Christ preached and taught in the local synagogues in the villages that He traveled to, He healed the sick and cast out demons from those who were possessed. It is very possible that many of these people who were healed of horrible diseases and were delivered from evil spirits were some of the very ones that became Jesus followers, just as Mary Magdalene and some of the other women that became Jesus’ most devoted followers that we read about in Luke (See Luke 8:1-3).

In the book of Mark, we read that Jesus told the Pharisees that He came to call those who were sick to wholeness as an analogy that He came to call those who were sinners  to repentance.

Mark 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance [those who knew that they were sinners and saw their need for repentance].

On another occasion when the disciples were fishing and saw the supernatural power of Christ when He performed the miracle of catching much fish, it must have had an extreme impact on Peter as to just who Christ really was. When Peter saw the miracle of the huge number of fish being drawn into their nets after catching nothing all night,  it humbled him and he suddenly realized how much of a lowly sinner he was in Christ’s presence for he fell down and pleaded with Jesus to depart from him.

Luke 5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5:5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 5:6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 5:7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.  5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 5:9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

But Jesus already knew what kind of man Peter was but He paid him no mind for saying this, but rather told him and the other apostles not to fear and that from then on they, too, would “catch men” [for the Kingdom of God].

Luke 5:10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them…..

When Matthew says the multitudes here it does not say how many people there were that had gathered on the mountain that day to hear Jesus teachings; it does say that the disciples came to Him and He taught them.

Many of them probably had already received miraculous healings from Jesus and had decided to follow Him. All indications are that these were not the scholars and the religious leaders but just ordinary people like you and I.  What He had to say was for ordinary people, not just an elite inner circle or the religious leaders of His day.  

In the verses just before the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew describes the sort of persons that would have been amongst the people in the crowd: “They brought unto him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and torments, people possessed with devils, epileptics, paralytics,…..”

The Beatitudes are for those who are called to be disciples of Christ, and Christ says that they are blessed if they follow these guidelines and do them; this pertains to all people including those who are the poor and the downtrodden and may not seem to be all that blessed in this life.

The True Riches

A person does not have to be wealthy, famous, beautiful, or physically strong and healthy, to have the Beatitude blessings which are “spiritual” in nature. The Beatitudes tell us that people are truly blessed because they behave and live in a certain way, not because they have the physical blessings that the people of the world seek after.  

This state of blessedness does not depend on our physical circumstances, but is an inner joy and peace that comes from knowing that we are reconciled with God our Father, and by having a solid, intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior while walking in all of His ways.

David also understood the kind of blessing that comes from delighting in God’s law and living according to them; and not because we have all the material things that the people of the world seek to attain.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands on what it means to repent intrinsically from the heart and not just in outward sinful behaviors. He is teaching His disciples that to really be one of His followers, they must radically change their inner-most hearts, obeying the commandments in all of their spiritual intent and not just in the letter of the law. When we understand and live according to the spirit of God’s laws, this inner attitude will therefore manifest itself in the way we think, the way we behave, and in the way we treat others (even when we are being persecuted).

Jesus challenges men and women in His teaching on the Beatitudes to become virtuous and to live by the highest moral standard that God desires for them. It is a way of living that this present evil world does not teach, nor does it exhibit, and it even mocks others who do live according to these teachings!

God’s children who incorporate the Beatitudes into their hearts and go on to pattern these characteristics must be different from the rest of the world; they must reflect the righteous divine nature that God has. To live the way of the Beatitudes reflects God’s character which is in direct opposition to the values that the world around us portrays. 

The teachings of Jesus in regard to the Beatitudes (and also in the rest of His Sermon on the Mount) reveal how contrary the values of the world really are when compared to what God says is of everlasting spiritual value. And this is a very radical way of thinking from the ways of carnal men and women; for these eight character traits that make up the Beatitudes do not include any of the things that the world prizes such as wealth, fame, power, popularity, relationships, influence, physical beauty. These are the things which all of us have been falsely led to believe (before being called of God) to be the essential things that make for genuine human fulfillment and happiness.  

There is nothing inherently wrong with having physical blessings and we should be thankful to God for what He supplies, but we must always remember that the physical blessings are no measure of our standing with God, nor do they portray at what level our spiritual maturity is; nor do the physical blessings have any real bearing on one’s place or position in the kingdom of God. As God’s people we are taught that the qualities that He wants us to have are far more important than going after the riches of this world and the other things that the world puts such a high premium on.

Therefore Jesus, after listing the Beatitudes, calls upon His His followers to be the lights of the world and the salt of the earth; for they are to show others by their word and by their example the way to live that brings true blessedness and a life that truly glorifies God the Father. (See Matthew 5:13-16)

Radical Teachings for Living a Whole New Kind of Life

At the beginning of Jesus ministry He went up unto a mountain and the people came to Him to hear His teachings. He opened His mouth and began to teach those listening that day how they were to apply the law of God beyond just the physical keeping of them; of how God wanted them to keep His laws in the deepest spiritual sense of those laws.

Jesus’ teachings, as recorded in Matthew chapters 5 – 7 exhorted His disciples that not only were they to keep all of God’s Commandments as they were given at Mt. Sinai, but also that it was now required for them to keep them in the fullest spiritual intent of those laws if they desired to be His followers.

Jesus began with the Beatitudes as His introduction to this new concept in verses 2 – 12 and then went on to use different illustrations in expounding upon the deep spiritual truths contained in them in the rest of Matthew 5 and also through chapters 6 and 7.

The people were so impressed at the authority that Jesus displayed and at the wisdom of what He was teaching that at the end of His discourse they expressed their amazement at this new teaching which was not like anything they had ever heard before.

Matthew 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

This teaching on the mountain was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry so the people that came to Him that day and who desired to become His followers, were those who were amongst His earliest disciples.

In this sermon Jesus laid the foundation of the kind of spiritual traits that His disciples would need to internalize into their hearts and display in their lives to grow to be in God’s image. This was all new to the people, they had never been taught these things before. 

Yet, they were not fully able to understand these things at the time for they did not have God’s Holy Spirit. But they were learning and putting these profound teachings into their minds and hearts for later when they would receive the Holy Spirit and these things would be brought to remembrance.

After receiving Jesus’ teachings, they would come to have the help of God’s Spirit to put the things which they had learned on that day into practice when the Spirit was given to them (after Christ’s resurrection and His ascension to be accepted by the Father).

The men and women who had gathered on the mountain to listen to Jesus’ sermon and who had chosen to become His followers (whether they realized it or not) were receiving profound in-depth instruction in godly living and on the spiritual meanings of the God’s commandments that had never been taught to them before. 

These early disciples had the privilege of being taught these new insights about how to keep God’s laws in their much deeper spiritual intent from the very Spokesman (the Word) sent from God the Father, in the person of Jesus Christ.

It was really God that spoke that day; He was speaking through His own Son, the One who is also the chief Apostle, our High Priest, and the Messiah that was to come. He is our King and will be King of kings over all the nations of the earth when He returns to earth in all of His power and glory, and yet here He was teaching the people of this radical new way of living that day on the mountain.

Jesus came proclaiming a New Covenant and a new way for His people to relate to God and also a new way to relate to their fellowman.  Jesus came to teach these spiritual insights to His disciples on how to keep His laws in a more profound and better way; but even beyond that, how to write God’s laws upon their hearts and to obey His laws in the deepest spiritual intent of those laws.

Matthew recorded Christ’s message and it has been preserved down through the ages to teach every disciple of Jesus including the disciples that would come along later. This was enlightening spiritual instruction on how we are to live our lives and to have the righteousness of God in all of its fullness. 

Jesus taught that first we need to repent and believe the Gospel, be baptized, apply the sacrifice of Jesus to all our sincerely repentant sins and live by His every Word to attain salvation to eternal life. The Beatitudes (and the whole Sermon on the Mount) teach us how to live a life that pleases God, and also how to relate in [agape] love to our brethren and our fellowman.

This message was for all the men and women who became Christ’s disciples who lived during His time; and it is also for all those who would become disciples after His time on earth right up until our time. 

The Beatitudes will eventually be taught to all those who have ever lived as each individual is called according to the will and the perfect timing of the Father. All who are called of God, whether it is now in this present age or the ages to come, are to seek God and to set their hearts to obey Him with all their hearts, minds, and strength, including the internalizing of the deep spiritual truths of God and how to apply them in their day to day lives.

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

In Spirit and in Truth

Later on in Jesus’ ministry when He encountered the Samaritan woman at the well, He told her that the Father was seeking those that would worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.

John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Knowing and applying the Beatitudes to our lives are the very things that help us to worship God in “spirit” and in “truth”. This new kind of worship would be a way that would be based on the New Covenant and empowered by the Holy Spirit and would, in the years to come, be independent of the Temple, Jerusalem, the Aaronic priesthood or animal sacrifices. And this is how God’s people, whom God has called to be set apart, are to worship and to live for Him in our lives.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount taught His disciples that they must walk in the Spirit of God and display the very same attributes that Jesus as a physical man displayed. The Beatitudes are the divine ways of the very divine nature of God Himself and teach us about how He operates and lives. They are virtues that every follower must internalize to become like Him and to grow up into His image and to have the very mind of God.

By internalizing these things into their hearts all disciples of God, the ones that were present on the mountain that day (and all those who would come to know Jesus through His Word), are to be molded and fashioned to become the very children of God.

The more we perfect and practice these ways, the more we exemplify the divine attributes of our Father in heaven and we are to become perfect [complete] as He is perfect [complete]. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) The Beatitudes teach us the ways that lead to that perfection.

Therefore it is of the utmost importance that as God’s called out, that we study these Beatitudes and learn them and strive to integrate them into our lives but we cannot do so in our own strength; we must also ask God to help us to deny our carnal human nature and our human desires for the pleasures of this world and replace those desires with a hunger and thirst for the ways of God.

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Jesus’ teachings (in Matthew 5, 6, 7) could be considered very good instructions for all people to try to live by, and many people down through the ages have tried to live accordingly. Yet the implications are spiritual in nature and they can only be understood by those who have the Spirit of God and therefore can understand the deep spiritual meanings and applications.

This profound teachings found in these chapters are not evangelistic in nature with the intention of calling people into the Ekklesia but they are meant for the called out, those who are converted and already members of Christ’s body.

The Beatitudes set the highest moral standards for those whom God has set apart and called to be trained to be teachers in His Kingdom. It is only by the Spirit that one can properly understand how to implement them in their dealings with God and others. The deep things of God can only be discerned and understood by those who have God’s Holy Spirit.

1st Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

A key to discernment and to gaining more of God’s wisdom is to realize that the more we strive to keep the laws and ordinances of God as we become aware of them and then commit to do them; the more God will provide further insights into the deeper spiritual meaning and intent of His laws and of His Word including the understanding of the Beatitudes. 

If we are not keeping God’s laws, then God will not give His Holy Spirit to us that enables one to understand the deep spiritual mysteries of God.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

These teachings are geared to prepare the children of God now in this life to rule under Christ in God’s Kingdom when it is established on earth in the near future in all of its fullness.

The virtues, qualities, and characteristics that are described in the Sermon on the Mount are actually supernatural and spiritual in nature, that is to say, they do not come naturally to man in his carnal state. The Beatitudes are produced by the power of God’s Spirit dwelling within His children just as the fruits of God’s Spirit are produced. They must flow from God through His Spirit to us and we must call upon God to supply us with His power to live accordingly.

Just like all aspects of overcoming and growing, these areas too must be cultivated replacing our human nature; with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible. The Beatitudes as a way of life must be our goal and when we fall short we must get back up, cry out to God for His help, and keep striving to grow in how Christ would have us to be.

As we study God’s Word, and ask God for His help to implement the things we are learning, God will begin to write His laws and precepts into our very being. As we grow in our walk with God in all of His ways, these precepts and character traits will become a part of who we are, not in just our outward behavior, but we will be weaving the very fabric of what God is about into our hearts and we will begin to take on the mind of God.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

If we are being called to be a follower of Jesus Christ now in our lifetime, and if we will diligently study, learn, and incorporate His teachings into our very being, and remain faithful to Him all of our lives; the more God can use us to teach others in the Millennium and even the multitudes that will rise up in the Great Main Fall Harvest.

Jesus teaches us how to live out the truth of God’s Word in practical terms but also how to live according to every Word of God in all the spiritual aspects of His Word. As we do so we are to shine as lights in the world and in this way we become examples for others.

We therefore let the light of God’s truth shine through us so that others can see these things being lived out by our godly words, righteous actions, and good attitudes. 

By being faithful to living God’s way of life living according to all of His commandments and displaying the virtues as contained in the Beatitudes, we will be witnesses for Him to the people in our lives who are watching us including those who are closest to us: our families, friends and neighbors. 

And if they should persecute us now for living for God, it could be that at a later time they will think back to the time in their lives when they did have a witness of God’s way shown to them and when God opens their eyes to His truth, they will remember and hopefully will eagerly want to know the way that leads to eternal salvation.

Go Ye Therefore Into All the World As Lights of God’s Way

The multitudes may have come to the mountain to hear Jesus speak, but He was specifically addressing those who were being called to become His devoted followers.

In Matthew 10:2-4, (also Mark 3:14-19, Luke 6:13-16) we read that Jesus chose twelve men, including the four fishermen mentioned earlier, from the larger group of followers for intense specific training for the office of “apostle”. And even though most of these other first disciples were not chosen to be part of the group that would later become the apostles, Jesus gave them, too, a very special commission of being the salt and lights in the world for Him.

After teaching the people about the Beatitudes and how they would be blessed if they would learn them and incorporate them into their character; He then taught that if they would be faithful to the Word of God (including internalizing the qualities contained in the Beatitudes) then they would have God’s saltiness within them and would be the salt of the earth through their faithfulness to God’s Word and by their influence. 

Also, that they would be lights that could not be hid so that men, at some point in their lives, would see their good works [including the exemplifying of the Beatitudes] and glorify, not them, but their Father in heaven. Jesus told them what their mission in life would be just after giving them the Beatitudes, they were to be:

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The Beatitudes describe what every follower of Christ is to be like, not just those who are called to be apostles, evangelists, teachers, pastors, etc.; but these beautiful virtues are to be exemplified by all those whom are called of God the Father and who seek to obey Him in all of His ways.  

Every child of God needs to study, meditate upon and ask God to help him ingrain them into their very being. And we do not have to wait to be ordained into some ministry or to fill a position within the Ekklesia, we are to be the salt of the earth and the lights of the world no matter what station or stage we are currently at in life. 

No matter who we are, how old we are, or what training we have; all of God’s people can be lights in whatever situations we find ourselves in, and God’s teaching on the Beatitudes is for all who would be His disciples.

The Beatitudes Expand On What it Means to Love God

God the Father showed the depth of His love for us when He sent the Creator (His beloved Son) to be divested of His God-hood and be made flesh that He might die for His creation so that we could also become sons of God the Father, future members of the Family of God. Jesus Christ demonstrated His love for us when He gave His life for us, when we were yet sinners and were His enemies.

Once we repent and become Christ’s followers, He tells us very plainly that if we truly love Him and the Father that we will be keeping their commandments, which include all of God’s ordinances, statutes, and judgments and the entire Word of God.

John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Jesus said in: John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

David in Psalm 19 knew of and expressed the blessings of keeping all of God’s commandments, statutes and judgments as well, and that there was great reward for keeping them.

Psalm 19:7  The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

The Beatitudes exemplify the deeper spiritual intent of God’s commandments in all of their fullness; in the way we show love toward Him and in the way we show love toward our fellowman. And when, we as individuals, conduct ourselves in this kind of love, we show the fruits that we abide in Christ’s love and that we are truly one of Jesus’ disciples.

Toward the end of His discourse in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns the disciples that it is “by their fruits ye shall know them” meaning we would know those who are true followers of Christ and who are not.  

Those who do not exhibit this way of behaving and of loving others, but have the fruits of a carnal spirit, make it possible for us to discern the ones that are not of Christ. This is a warning for ourselves as well to make sure that we, too, are genuinely walking in the Spirit continuously and to be on guard of wandering off back into carnality. (2nd Corinthians 13:5)

Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Just as it was in those days, it is also true in our modern day; many heard the words and teachings of Jesus, but very few were willing to repent and do the works contained in His teachings.

 Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

John tells us in 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Not only are the keeping of God’s commandments NOT grievous, but Jesus gives us wonderful promises in Matthew 5:3-12 that we will be truly blessed if we study, learn, and apply the eight Beatitudes which are the keeping of the commandments of God from the very deepest spiritual meaning of how God would have us to live them out.

The Beatitudes are beautiful virtues that every believer needs to have as their way thinking and behaving in their lives. They describe what it means to live as a child of the kingdom of God just as Jesus perfectly lived them out when He was here on earth; He is our model and His is going to be the King of that kingdom.

In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus described what it means to live by a set of standards, virtues, and attitudes that go way beyond the literal (and outward) keeping of His laws and statues. When we display the Beatitudes in our lives from our inner being, we show what being a disciple of Christ looks like: a follower that is spiritually mature and which has the mind of Christ.

Studying and learning the Beatitudes, perhaps even memorizing them, and then striving to live them out is one of the best ways of loving God and others with all our hearts and understanding. God’s called out are called to be pioneers of His way of living now in our lifetimes. We must live now what we will be teaching to others if we are chosen to become the priests and teachers for the rest of humanity in the future years to come: in the Millennium and in the Main Fall Harvest of Humanity.

It is our plan to do studies on each of the eight Beatitudes and what God says in His Word about how each one is to be applied to our lives and how they compliment each other. Each beatitude is a specific aspect of the whole package of what it means to obey God not only in the letter of the law but from a pure heart.

That is what The Beatitudes are all about and Jesus tells us that we are blessed if they become a part of who we are as children of God.

Let us each continually study, reflect upon and internalize the whole Word of God; seeking passionately to please and to become like our Father and His beloved Son always.  Let us be doers and not merely hearers of the Word of God!  And when we find greater understanding,  let us test it against the Word of God, and if found consistent with the whole Word of God, let us passionately embrace it and make the needed changes in our lives; for by doing so, we reveal to God the depth of our love for all His ways! 

James Malm and Constance Belanger

Note-  Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2014, which I then completed for posting. 


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