Archive for October, 2007

Persecutecd for Righteousness



NAU Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


NIV Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


KJV Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


According to Paul, persecution should be a way of life for the Christian. Just read:


NAU 2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.


NIV 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,


KJV 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.


We in North America cannot relate to this teaching of Jesus very well. Most of the time it is because we fail to live our Christianity (i.e. proclaiming our faith in appropriate circumstances, or shunning behavior undignified as a follower of Christ.)


I know some friends who experience this verse…but I have to go to Belarus and Russia to see this verse come alive. Godly behaving believers being threatened with persecution for proclaiming the Gospel. Let us not only pray for the perseverance of those Christians being persecuted around the world but that we will live appropriately to attract persecution. After all, the reward is heaven!




NAU Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

NIV Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

KJV Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

This is a tough one because it goes against our natural inclinations. To make peace (according to the Greek word used here) is to make reconciliation with an enemy. That is not my first reaction when wronged but that is what I am taught by Jesus to do – especially if I have been wronged as a representative of Jesus Christ! I am called as a Christian to initiate reconciliation with the one who has wronged me rather than enact my revenge or to get even. For an even more challenging teaching of Christ in the same context, see Matt 5: 44, 45.

A Merciful Attitude



We are continuing our study of the BEattitudes.  Today we will look at being merciful.


NAU Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.


NIV Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.


KJV Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.


I marvel at the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching in the BEattitudes. Simple statements can have profound meaning. 


We all crave and seek mercy – on a daily basis! The driver who is pulled over by the Highway patrolman, or the person who finds a dent in the fender of a rental vehicle!


If you remember an earlier devotional regarding the attributes of God on mercy you will remember that mercy means not receiving what you deserve.


We deserve God’s justice but we experience God’s mercy when we accept the work of Christ on the cross by faith. If we have received so great a mercy from God enabling us to enter into His presence for all eternity despite the horrendous thoughts and actions demonstrated in our lives, then we owe the expression of mercy to those who have wronged us especially in the trivial issues. If we have been given mercy from God, we owe mercy to others. Let us be merciful because we have been shown mercy.

Longing for righteousness


The fourth BEattitude is having a longing for righteousness.

NAU Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

NIV Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

KJV Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The person with this attitude recognizes a deficiency of personal righteousness before God and man. It should cause us to sorrow (BEattitude #2) and demands honesty before God (BEattitude #3). It should also be recognized that the righteousness required by God can never be accomplished by our personal effort in this life. In other words, there is a personal recognition of ‘spiritual poverty’ (BEattitude #1). But notice: satisfaction does not come from personal accomplishment. It is not man who is capable of this action. The satisfaction comes from accepting Jesus’ work on the cross and gazing with appreciation at the cross whenever personal unrighteousness is recognized. The only thing that gazing at our unrighteousness accomplishes is a self centered mourning and drive for personal victory. Instead, gazing at the cross gets our eyes off of self and onto our Savior where they belong, and unleashes the praise for His work that He alone deserves. It is then that we are satisfied…..satisfied in the righteousness of Christ conferred upon us at faith.

Next week we will complete our study of the BEattitudes.

Meekness, gentleness or humility?


The third BEattitude I believe is not well translated in the English.

NAU Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

NIV Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

KJV Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Being gentle or meek conjures up an image of being soft, nice or non-confrontive. This is not the best expression of the Greek meaning for the word. I think a better translation is being humble which reflects the internal attitude valued by God in man. The humble man or woman maintains a proper perspective of himself and the world around him. He recognizes his limitations before God and man, and honestly acknowledges these limitations. He does not try to be something that he is not. Honestly speaking, Christians are nothing more than ‘declared righteous sinners who will not be perfect until we are glorified at death or at His coming. Until then, we are progressing toward perfection (with lots of set backs along the way) but never reaching perfection until we stand in His presence.

Beattitudes: Mourning

The second BEattitude taught by Jesus is having sorrow over our own sin.

NAU Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

NIV Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

KJV Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

The heaven bound person not only recognizes his or her own spiritual poverty before God, but mourns over this spiritual poverty that has separated him from God and would be eternal if not for the work of Christ on the cross. When you think about it, the mourning is done before the solution is recognized and accepted. Once the solution is known (i.e. the cross) the citizen bound for heaven lives in the joy of God’s promised liberation at death or His coming! Mourning over personal sin, however, is a prerequisite before the comfort of the cross will be enjoyed. And, as we mature as Christians, mourning over the understanding of the depth of our sin before God should cause us to rejoice more and more, and be comforted by the cross.

Beattitudes: Poor in Spirit

Last week we looked at BASIC CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES – from MY perspective!  This week we will look at BEattitudes from Jesus’ perspective!

It is my contention that you could communicate the Gospel using the Beattitudes found in Matthew.  The first is:

NAU Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

NIV Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

KJV Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The first BEattitude really encompasses being humble because God expects that His followers will be those that will properly and honestly evaluate their standing before Him. We often judge people by their exterior. We examine their clothes and determine their economic stature by society’s standards. This says very little to God because He is looking for people who will evaluate themselves – internally! And I do not mean from a medical perspective. God is looking for people who will recognize that their motives, desires, thoughts, etc. are spiritually bankrupt! That they have a huge internal debt of ugly sin (which most of the time expresses itself externally)  that is insurmountable when standing before God. This is the person who responds to the Gospel – the one who recognizes his need for the riches of the cross that declares a person righteous in the eyes of God through faith alone. It is theisperson who identifies his spiritual poverty and accepts the riches of Christ’s work on the cross through faith (not a personal effort to please God) that is rewarded with heaven. We as a people who recognize their spiritual poverty before God are truly blessed by God.