Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
With this newsletter, we are going to focus on the second Beatitude in verse four of Matthew 5:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Last time we said that those who are 'poor in spirit' are blessed because they have realized the truth that they are not only deplete of any funds with which to barter with God, but, to continue the monetary metaphor, they are massively in debt to Him. And once you realize this truth about who you are without God, the natural progression is to come to a place of mourning over your sin. It's like having believed your whole life long that you are healthy, wealthy, and wise, only to have your eyes opened to find that you are like those in the church at Laodicea: "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked."
This mourning is not simply being sorry you were caught in your sin or sorry that you are paying the price for your sin. It is seeing that you are in a condition of abject and total hopelessness apart from God's forgiveness. It is realizing that your eternity, apart from the grace of God, would be justly spent paying for your pride which would not stoop to love the Lord with your whole heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
And mourning doesn't stop with salvation. In our walk as Christians, all of us will at times have to say with Paul, "O wretched man that I am! (Romans 7:24). 1 John 1:8-10 says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." There are those who preach that you get saved and then you sin no longer, but that is against the truth of Scripture. I find myself daily failing in one way or another. As I grow in Christ, I see more, not fewer, issues in my life that give me reason to mourn. If there is anyone reading this that would freely admit that since you got saved, you've not sinned and had to fall back on the grace of God once again, I would like to meet you, get your autograph…and talk to some eyewitnesses.
This is because after we are saved a battle begins with, as Paul calls it, 'the flesh' -- that part of us that is our humanness; the principle of sin remaining in us; that part of us that still says "I will." While our inner man is as complete and perfect in Christ as it will ever be after redemption, we still have a constant battle from the moment of salvation to the moment we die to keep the flesh in subjection (Romans 8:10-17). The great apostle Paul who wrote half the New Testament, said that he had to 'beat the body and make it his slave' (1 Cor. 9:27). When we were enslaved to the old nature, we had no problem sinning. Sinning was our nature, sin our master. This is outlined in Romans 6-7. But now, to be able to repent and feel sorrowful over our failures is a sign that God is working in us; that we have been regenerated by His Spirit and are able to say 'NO' to those sinful desires (Titus 2:11-12). So continued mourning over sin and turning from it back to God, is a sign of a truly changed life.
Every Beatitude has a promise attached to it, and our promise at the end of this second beatitude speaks of that blessed forgiveness that can be ours whenever we come before the throne of Grace with mourning. We come with tears and leave rejoicing for our sins are no longer counted against us! That my friends, is true comfort.
We'll tackle the next one in the next newsletter.
Miles & Martha