Sunday, October 23, 2011

Living in the Kingdom of God (part II)

Starting where I left off:

4) "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled"
The need for love is a hunger implanted by the Creator.  This instinct has become a torment and tyrant to most who seek to fulfill it unrighteously.  Jesus is righteousness personified--the expression of everything that is lovely and like God.  When we hunger for union with him, we will be satisfied.

5) "Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy"
We should have sympathy and understanding for the needs, sufferings, and testings of others; not indifference and contempt of their weaknesses.  The unheavenly practice of criticizing and talking spitefully about others will murder the lovely qualities of mercy, gentleness, compassion and understanding, which the Holy Spirit so longs to cultivate in our hearts.

6) "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God"
To be pure in heart means your actions and words are a crystal clear reflection of the motives and intents of your heart.  The hypocrite desires to veil the true thoughts and purposes of his heart, because it would bring disapproval from others.  If he can appear well in the eyes of men, he is satisfied.  Only those who practice sincerity and truthfulness in all things can 'see God' (or know what He is truly like) because every falsity in our lives must result in a distorted conception of God.  Matthew 6 shows three examples of hypocrisy and dishonesty to which religious people are most liable:
a) Charity given from motives of desiring praise in the eyes of men.  Showing off our 'generosity' to attract attention to ourselves.
b) Fasting (or any self-denial) and then making sure people know about it.  A spirit which hates to do good in secret, but must have an admiring and appreciative audience is not pure.
c) If our prayers are not the expression of real desires in our hearts, but only pious ideas which will sound fine to the ears of others, then it is hypocritical.

7) "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God"
The root cause of all discord, separation, division, and disunity are: anger at one another, indifference to the feelings of another, and contempt of others. (Matt. 5:21-26) Broken, sin-diseased relationships within mankind can only be healed through the power of God working through his 'peacemakers'--those who are connected with the life and healing power of the head of the body; Jesus (the Prince of Peace)

8) "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven"
This principle is enlarged upon in 5:43-48 when Jesus says "love your enemies, bless those who curse you".  This is the heavenly principle of forgiveness, a willingness to bear the wrong done against us without demanding retribution or holding a grudge.  Our Lord did this when he "bore our sins in his own body on the tree"--he did not count our sins against us.  He forgave the hatred and malice of the men who were watching him die.  Forgiveness is the highest of the heavenly laws, and the one we are slowest to practice.

9) "Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you"

It is one thing to suffer as an acknowledged martyr for the truth...quite another to be made to appear as an evildoer suffering only what is just and right.  Jesus was put to death by his own people for the most audacious wickedness known to a Jew, that is blasphemy.  Jesus remained silent before his judges.  This is not to say it's wrong to state our innocence; but when men continue to falsely accuse us, then we must not insist on self-vindication, but to willingly suffer as Christ and the prophets did, and leave God to vindicate us in his own time.  The world waits for another Pentecost when the Holy Spirit can work unhindered in men and women.  But he can only come upon us when we, like the first Christians, see what they saw--that these heavenly principles taught and practiced by Jesus must be accepted as the standard for ourselves also.  May he empower us to begin practicing these primary lessons "till we may all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to a measure of stature of the fullness of the Christ", (Eph. 4:13) who when he taught these things summed them all up in a tenth Beatitude--"If you know these things, happy (blessed) are you if you do them".