In Matthew 5:3-6, Jesus describes the steps of spiritual rebirth and growth. As a Christian, these are the most important character traits that we can possess (spiritual poverty, mourn over past sin, meekness, hunger and thirst for righteousness). Verses 7-9 explain what a Christian should look like when he/she portrays these characteristics. To truly be a follower of Christ, we must possess these in our everyday lives just as Christ did.
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
a. To be merciful you must be “full of mercy.” This also means that we should be compassionate or forgiving. William Barclay says that being merciful is, “the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin until we can see things with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.” We can sympathize with their needs. To be merciful, Ray Pritchard explains 3 elements that we should have: 1. ”I see the need”—that’s recognition. 2. “I am moved by the need”—that’s motivation. 3. “I move to meet the need”—that’s action.” We first have to see it with our own eyes, let our hearts be moved with compassion, and move to action by showing the act of mercy. Spurgeon puts it simply, “As you hope for mercy, show mercy.”
b. When we are merciful to others, others will show mercy to us. David Guzik says, “If you want mercy from others – especially God – then you should take care to be merciful to others.” James tells us in chapter 2 that if we do not show mercy to others than God will not show mercy to us (13). God will forgive us in an instant if we truly repent. Shouldn’t we do this for others? What if you turned away someone with a need and in the future you had that same need? It is not fair to receive mercy if we cannot give it.
c. How can we develop this attitude? Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Love others as God loves you. Forgive others as God has forgiven you. Show mercy to others as God has shown mercy to you. Imitate him in everything and he will give you the strength and the discernment to be merciful. “Mercy is a bridge God built to mankind. Mercy is a bridge we build toward others.” -Wiersbe
Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
a. Pure in Heart – MacArthur: purity means unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated. Ray Pritchard: pure in heart means that you are sincere, transparent and without guile. Wm. Barclay: a pure heart is a heart whose motives are absolutely pure and absolutely unmixed. A pure heart is a heart that flees from the disease of sin and desires the wholeness and pure love of Christ. Our lives should reflect and imitate Christ’s love with no alterior motive. My prayer is that you will desire a clean, faithful heart; “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
b. “For they will see God.” – This does not mean we will actually see God with our human eyes, but when our hearts are pure, that’s when we can have a true intimate relationship with Christ. Guzik puts it this way, “the pure of heart receive the most wonderful reward. They shall enjoy greater intimacy with God than they could have imagined.” When our hearts are lined up with God’s we can stand on the mountain of the Lord and stand in his holy place (Ps. 24:3). Spurgeon gives us a beautiful picture of a pure heart, “It is a most blessed attainment to have such a longing for purity as to love everything that is chaste and holy, and to abhor everything that is questionable and unhallowed: There is a wonderful connection between hearts and eyes. A man who has the stains of filth on his soul cannot see God, but they who are purified in heart are purified in vision too: “they shall see God.” What a wonderful feeling it is to walk with God and see him in everything.
c. How can we develop this attitude? Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Our hearts are naturally deceitful. But if we get rid of our fleshly desires daily and pursue the things of God will we be able to have a clean heart and have an intimate relationship with God. We must seek him through his word and constantly be in prayer. “Blest are the pure, whose hearts are clean, Who never tread the ways of sin; With endless pleasures they shall see a God of spotless purity. ” -Isaac Watts
Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
a. Peacemakers are those that strive to bring peace with men through God. David Guzik explains, “This does not describe those who live in peace, but those who actually bring about peace, overcoming evil with good.” Peacemakers should not seek trouble but rather help settle arguments and try to restore good into the world. Warren Wiersbe gives a good summary of the way Christians should promote peace, “Christians should bring peace, between people and God and between those who are at odds with each other. We share the Gospel of peace.” Hate does not bring peace. We are to love others the way Christ did and through his love we can bring peace to others. The writer of Hebrews tell us to, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). There will never be infinite peace in the world, but we have to show God’s love to fully show his peace.
b. For they will be called sons of God…or children of God. Guzik explains, “The reward of peacemakers is that they are recognized as true children of God. They share His passion for peace and reconciliation, the breaking down of walls between people.” When it says we have been called, it means we have been chosen. It’s humbling to know that God has chosen me as one of his children. And his true children bring peace to the world through his name (Romans 5:1).
c. How can we develop this attitude? “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Live in harmony with each other. Do all you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:9,12,14,18) Show them the love of God. Pray unceasingly. Pray for those who hurt you. Live in the peace of Christ the ultimate Peacemaker.
When we realize our need for God, mourn over our past sin, humble ourselves, and desire to be right with God; we can show mercy, attain a heart of purity, and become peacemakers.