The Blessing of a Changed Life
The Blessing of a Changed Life
The Sermon on the Mount remains one of the central passages of the teaching of life in the Kingdom of Christ. It has been often referred to as the rules of Christ’s kingdom. Christ came to establish his kingdom and sovereign rule, a kingdom where righteousness is the standard of conduct. The Sermon anticipates the coming of Christ, the establishment of his kingdom when he returns, and the behavior required of those living in his kingdom. However, these words are more than just the law of the future kingdom; they set forth Christ's expectations of what it means to be his disciple in the present. Christ demands his disciples to think and live differently from the world. We are to live contrary to the world’s behavior and attitudes. We are to live a life that is transformed, both in our relationship with God and his requirements and also in our relationship with others.
Christ begins with the promise of blessing to those who are transformed. These initial verses, often called The Beatitudes, are more than just pithy statements to be engraved on a plaque and hung on the wall. They are the foundation for the sermon and what it means to live as a disciple of Christ. The first three beatitudes focus on the inward attitude and character we are to have. This is further expanded upon in verses 13-20. The fourth beatitude, verse 6, deals with our relationship with God, which Christ discusses further in chapter 6. The final five beatitudes highlight the importance of relational wholeness with others, which is the focal point of chapter 7. The Beatitudes describe what it means to “love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself” ( Matthew 22:37).
The Beatitudes center on the blessings of godly living. The word “blessed” is used nine times in these opening verses. The word itself has a deeper meaning than our idea of happiness. We view happiness from the context of our circumstances. If our life is free from adversity, then we are happy. But this blessing goes beyond external circumstances and is not based upon the situations around us. The word “blessed” is grounded in the Old Testament word translated as “blessing” (see Psalm 1). The one who is “blessed” is the one whom others look at with envy. They are the individual that others look upon and wish “my life is like theirs.” The individual is enjoying God and trusting in his blessing in the present and future. This trust is not determined by the current struggles but by the future promise of God and is grounded in a deep and undisturbed faith in God. At the core of one who is blessed is the one who is living a life in obedience to God. The one who is truly blessed is one whose God is the Lord (Ps. 33:12) and trusts and hopes in him (Psalm 34:8). To discover genuine joy in life; we are not to turn to the perspective and promises of our present culture, but to the life that God desires us to live. A life that is transformed and living according to the commands of Christ. We are truly blessed when we live out his moral and relational standards in all aspects of life. This starts by divesting ourselves of pride (poor in spirit) and humble confession and repentance of our sin (Those who mourn). It also requires us to desire to hunger and thirst for righteousness, which involves seeking to be like Christ in all things (vs. 6). Last, it involves transformed relationships where we demonstrate mercy and forgiveness to others and desire to develop positive, healthy relationships (vs. 7-10). A blessed life changes our relationship with God and others, and we live by Christ’s standard of conduct revealed in this incredible sermon.