Matthew 5:7-8

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy

  • Mercy is showing love to the helpless and hopeless (as opposed to grace which is showing love to the undeserving).
  • The best definition of the two that I have ever encountered is this: ‘Grace is especially associated with men in their sins; mercy is especially associated with men in their misery.’ In other words, while grace looks down upon sin as a whole, mercy looks especially upon the miserable consequences of sin. So that mercy really means a sense of pity plus a desire to relieve the suffering. (D Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount; 84)
  • It dovetails perfectly with meekness. If I’m meek, if I see others through the prism of my sin, then I’ll be merciful.  If I’m not meek, I won’t be merciful.  If I’m not merciful, I’m not meek.
  • When we understand our need for mercy from a holy God because of our sin, we extend mercy to others who, like us, desperately need it. If we don’t understand our need for mercy – if we’re not poor in spirit – we won’t be merciful to others (Lk 18:9-14).  And if we don’t understand our need for mercy, how can God be merciful to us?  Put another way – we don’t earn mercy from God by extending mercy to others (that’s not what Jesus means by saying the merciful will receive mercy), but if we don’t show mercy to others it shows we don’t understand our need, which means we won’t seek or find mercy from God.
  • When we’re overwhelmed by God’s mercy, when we live every day conscious of His amazing response to our sin, we’re merciful to others. When we wake every day like Jeremiah and celebrate and depend upon the fact that God’s steadfast love never ceases, and His mercies never end and are new every morning (Lam 3:21-23), we’re merciful to others.  Mercy becomes second nature when we’re continually blown away by how our Creator treats us.
  • Mercy doesn’t overlook or discount sin; that’s how the world defines it. If we mourn over and hate sin we can’t simply decide to ignore it.  Mercy instead understands the sinner and loves him through the consequences of his sin.
  • That said, mercy doesn’t just love and help people through major failures in their lives. It also patiently loves people through daily shortcomings (sometimes it’s easier to be merciful to an adulterer than to my wife who forgot to pick up cereal at the grocery).
  • What right do I have as a sinner wholly dependent on God’s grace to think I need mercy less than anyone else? What right do I have to become impatient?  Irritated?  Judgmental?  Remember that mercy by definition is typically required by difficult people.
  • Do the merciful run the risk of being taken advantage of? Perhaps, but if they’re meek, they won’t care.  The one who’s fully cognizant of his repeated claims on God’s mercy will be much more open to Jesus’ seventy times seven
  • When I see others through the prism of my continual need of God’s mercy – and I remember that I’ll stand before Him one day (Jas 2:12-13) – I’ll patiently extend mercy to others who also continually need it.
  • Aside: God is ultimately merciful, loving, and forgiving. That means there’s never a reason to put off confession of sin.  God doesn’t need a cooling-off period, we don’t need to take some time between blowing it and confession.  The Enemy wants us prayerless and uses our sin to keep us away from God.  But God is our heavenly Father, always opening His arms to take us back and restore us to fellowship.  He doesn’t necessarily remove the ramifications of our sin, but he always lovingly desires His children.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

  • Heart encompasses the intellect, will, and emotions.
  • To be pure in heart means our intellect, will, and emotions are aligned with God and aligned with our actions, and aren’t dependent upon the circumstances or people we encounter.
  • Pure in heart is reflected in the greatest commandment (Matt 22:37) – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
  • Pure means no hypocrisy. We don’t act one way and think another, or compartmentalize into our God-fearing and God-ignoring selves.
  • Pure means we are not double-minded – Jas 1:6-8 & 4:3-4. We don’t try to love God AND the world – I Jn 2:15-17.  Our affections and inclinations are pointed toward God rather than toward the world and ourselves.
  • Pure means I can lay my whole being – public and private – before God and man. It means that who I am when I’m alone with my thoughts is the same person I am with others.  It means you can cut me open, and what I am on the inside is the same as on the outside.  Very practically, it means my internet browser, my checkbook, my conversations with my spouse, and my thoughts when I’m bored all could bear the light of day without contradicting my claim to be a faithful follower of Christ.
  • Pure is radically different from our natural heart. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders (Matt 15:19).
  • Pure requires continual diligence and continual self-examination and continual prayer for God to show us where we’re sinful and deceived. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way (Ps 139:23-24).
  • Pure is the opposite of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who were like whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones (Matt 23:27). We can’t approach God based on outward actions done with a corrupt heart (Ps. 24:3-6; Matt 7:21-23).
  • Notice the blessing. The impure can’t see  Hypocrisy slowly strangles and dries out the soul, and leaves it unable to taste the goodness of God.  It also isolates us – we’re never more alone than when we carry the weight of secret sin.  The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his (Prov 14:14).
  • Pure in heart is impossible when the only thing in my heart is me.
  • Pure reinforces how spiritually bankrupt we are. Apart from the work of the Spirit, who can live up to this?
  • The pure in heart live freely and joyfully, because there’s nothing to hide and no dark sides of life to cause anxiety. (This goes along with the freedom of the meek, who don’t have to worry about their rights or just deserts.)
  • To see God means I walk with Him and commune with Him and joyfully experience life with Him. I experience a slice of heaven here on earth because I spend my life pursuing and knowing Him – the same thing I’ll do to a much greater extent in the next life.  I get to taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps 34:8).  I understand what the Psalmist meant when he said, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Ps 16:11).  WHY WOULD I CHOOSE MYSELF AND THE WORLD OVER THIS????
  • Do I want to see God? Do I want daily communion with Him?  Do I want to continually experience His presence?  Create in me a clean heart! (Ps. 51:10)
  • Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put devious lips far from you.  Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.  Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.  Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil (Prov 4:23-27).

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