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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Blessed Are... Part 4

"Blessed are..."

In the fifth, sixth, and seventh beatitudes, Jesus addresses those who are merciful, those who are pure in heart, and the peacemakers. These are certainly virtues that all believers should strive to possess. When we are merciful, we reflect Christ, who the writer of Hebrews says is a merciful and faithful high priest (Hebrews 2:17). The Greek word translated as merciful in Matthew 5:7 is eleēmōn, which is the same word used in referring to Christ in Hebrews 2:17. This word can also be translated as kind or compassionate. These are qualities that Christ demonstrated throughout His ministry on earth, especially as He went about providing healing and forgiveness to those who appealed to Him for mercy. In the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23-35), Jesus taught us that those who receive mercy must also be merciful to others. When we are merciful, we are not only blessed, but we are also shown mercy by God.

In Matthew 5:8, Jesus says that those who are pure in heart are blessed. But, what does it mean to be pure in heart? The Greek word translated as pure in this verse is katharos, which also means clean or clear. In Psalm 51:10, David asked God to create in him a heart that is pure or clean. That should be our prayer as well. When we are pure in heart, we have been delivered from the power of sin through the grace of God. If we have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior and have turned from our sins, our hearts are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Having a pure heart also means that we now strive to glorify God in our lives and become more like Him. The pure in heart are blessed because, thanks to Christ's atoning sacrifice, we will see God.

The seventh beatitude refers to those who are peacemakers. As followers of Christ, the Prince of Peace, we should strive to live in peace with others. But being peacemakers means more than that. A peacemaker is someone who has been reconciled to God, who lives in peace with Him through the cross of Christ. When Christ took our sins upon Himself, His death on the cross brought us reconciliation with God. Because we have been reconciled to God and now live in peace with God, we should strive to bring others into that same peace. We do this through the example of the way in which we live our lives, through our testimony, and by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. When we are peacemakers in this way, we are truly blessed because we are called God's children.

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