The Beatitudes, Receiving Mercy, and Being Merciful
This is the fifth post of my series on the beatitudes. So far, we have looked at what it means to be poor in spirit. Not only are we spiritually broke, but we are also spiritually bankrupt. We can't measure up to what God commands His people without the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
We have also discussed the blessing that comes with mourning over our sins. When we finally recognize how much our thoughts, words, and actions have broken the heart of God, it begins breaking our own. We notice the depravity of our sins and start living a life of repentance.
We not only repent, but we also become meek. In the post I published two Mondays ago, I discussed surrendering our lives and will to Jesus. By living off of His strength instead of our own, we become stronger than we could ever be by ourselves. We make Jesus the focus of who we are, allowing Him to guide us where He wants us to go. We hand the reins of our lives over to Him.
Last Monday, we looked at what the beatitudes tell us about hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Jesus wasn’t talking about being self-righteous. He was referring to us having a right standing before God the Father, through His Son. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, His righteousness has been imputed into you. When God sees you, He sees Jesus Christ.
This week, we will be digging into the beatitudes and Matthew 5:7.
Without the mercy of God, we can not experience a relationship with Jesus. He is fully aware of how sinful our lives can be. God knows where we fail and the personal struggles that tempt us. Still, knowing the sinful lives we live, God wants us to know who He is. His mercy towards us makes this possible.
The Beatitudes and the Mercy We are Given
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, congratulations. You are filled with mercy. You simply have to learn how to share the mercy you have been freely given with others. I want us to look at chapter two of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. We don’t need to look at the entire chapter. The first seven verses will help me make my point.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
We can not read this and fail to see what mercy is. Let’s break this down a little and chew on what Paul writes to the Ephesians.
We are not bad people who need to do better. Each of us is dead in our sins. Not bad, dead. Every one of us has walked in our sin, choosing to follow this world. Not some of us. Not just a few people here and there. ALL of us. Think about what Paul calls us. “Sons of disobedience.” That’s a statement we don’t hear enough in the church today. Jesus told a crowd of followers, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”
If you are reading and are a parent, when is the last time you called your kid a child of wrath? Would you ever look at your kid and call them that? Who would be that mean and cold-hearted? Paul would. Yes, for the record, your children, you, me, the people of the church at Ephesus, we are all children of wrath. By nature and nurture, we are sinners, dead in our trespasses. Get ready. Here it comes—my favorite two words in the entire Bible.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
If you are new or newer to the Bible, this sounds complicated. We’ve already looked at just how wretched we are. We’re children of wrath, dead in our sin. But God.
Because of His great love for us even before we were capable of loving, God the Father sends us a Savior to take our place on the cross. Jesus didn’t belong there. We do. While we were dead in our trespasses, God brought us to life in His Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s message isn’t “go to church every day for a year and then come back to me when you act right.” He doesn’t tell us, “go memorize the Bible word for word, and then you will have a chance.” Instead, Paul tells us that while we are still dead in our sin, God the Father makes us alive together with Jesus. God doesn’t give us a list of prerequisites. Instead, he loves us so much that He acts first and then lovingly waits for a response to His love. That is mercy.
Being Merciful Towards Others
I will make this very short and straightforward. Forgiven people forgive people. If you are having trouble forgiving someone else, this demonstrates that there is something you need to address within your personal relationship with Jesus. As mentioned earlier, the moment you put your trust and faith in Jesus Christ, you become so full of mercy that your body can’t contain it all. So you can’t help but let it overflow and share it with others.
Merciful is a compassionate, kind, sensitive, and sympathetic word. It combines action with tendencies. If a person has this quality, they will discover outlets for the merciful nature of God.
When we are merciful towards others, we are the ones who benefit, not only them. It is a way for us to show God that we realize what has been done for us, and we are willing to share it with others. There is freedom in showing mercy towards others, one we could never experience with anger and resentment. The ability to show mercy to others is a blessing from God to us. It does more for the freedom of our soul than we could imagine.
Mercy is like a well inside of us that never runs dry. God puts it there. We give it away. In return, He makes sure the mercy is replenished. As long as we are willing to give it away whenever needed, God’s mercy is something we will never run out of. It will always be there.
The posts for this series on The Beatitudes is a preview of my next book, “The Tea Room Scrolls: Volume Two.” If you would like to take even a deeper study of the beatitudes than this series of blog posts, the book can be preordered here.