By LOU TISCIONE
This essay, on the fifth to the eighth Beatitudes, is a continuation of last weeks’ article on the first four Beatitudes. The verses that declare the final four Beatitudes are Matthew 5:7-12.
“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.” (ESV)
The word “blessed” describes those who are fortunate, happy and have a deep and profound spiritual well-being. The Beatitudes are declarative statements. Matthew recorded them in the present tense. The present tense is descriptive of ongoing behavior.
The grammar emphasizes that Jesus was describing someone who possessed all of the characteristics listed. He was describing Himself and those pursuing godliness in Him. The purpose of the Beatitudes, in fact, the entirety of the Sermon on the Mount is to cause those who have been born again to live in reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mercy, the subject of the fifth Beatitude is fully revealed in Jesus Christ. King David appealed to God’s mercy for forgiveness, Psalm 51. The Apostle Paul wrote that God has mercy on those whom He chooses, Romans 9, Ephesians 2. The Apostle John wrote that Jesus came full of grace and truth, John 1. Mercy is unmerited favor.
God extends mercy through Jesus Christ. Those who have received God’s mercy live as people of mercy. Those who have received mercy offer themselves as holy and living sacrifices to God, Romans 12.