In the beatitudes Jesus gives us a series of powerful statements that describe every true subject in His spiritual kingdom—that is, every true Christian. If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then the beatitudes and the specific qualities that Jesus describes will characterize your life.
Jesus begins His most famous sermon by describing characteristics that are present in the life of every true follower of Jesus Christ. If you are saved and are in Christ’s spiritual kingdom, Jesus says that these characteristics, or beatitudes, are manifested in your life.
Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount by saying that every true subject of His kingdom, that is, every true Christian, is characterized by being poor in spirit. At first glance, it seems that such an interesting expression is an odd way for Jesus to begin a sermon in front of a large crowd. But as we’ll discover together, the starting point for being part of Jesus’ kingdom is to come to Him like a spiritual beggar, depending only on God’s grace for salvation.
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes that in order to be in His kingdom you have to come to terms with your spiritual poverty—that only Christ can bring you out of spiritual bankruptcy.
As Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount He describes several qualities that mark every true Christian. The second quality is that you must mourn over your own spiritual poverty. But what Jesus is saying is actually a paradox—He really means “Blessed are those who are unhappy.” You see, every true subject of Jesus’ spiritual kingdom understands the daily battle of sin.
Do you profess to be a Christian? If so, then the qualities that Jesus describes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in the beatitudes should characterize your life. One of those qualities is that every Christian genuinely mourns over their sin. This means they recognize their spiritual poverty and that their sin offends a holy God, and they plead for His grace and forgiveness.
As Jesus continues to describe the qualities of true Christians, He says that they are gentle people. This doesn’t mean that Christians are weak and severely lacking in courage. But rather, Jesus is teaching His people that they are to be both outwardly and inwardly gentle people. And this should be the consistent pattern of their lives towards God and other people.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says that His true disciples are consistently characterized by meekness and gentleness. Because this quality is not inherent to human beings, you must be a follower of Jesus Christ and be under the power of the Holy Spirit to produce it. And if meekness is a reality in your life, Jesus says that you will partake in the new heaven and earth in the future.
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus describes the qualities of every true Christian, He says that God’s people will hunger and thirst for righteousness. In the same way that every person depends on food and water for life, every Christian must desire to live righteously before God, both positionally and morally and ethically, according to what has been written in God’s Word.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only place where spiritual hunger and thirst can be met. This is one of Jesus’ main points in the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. He is the only one who gives His own righteousness to sinners who repent and believe in Him. And He is the only one who works true righteousness, or holy living, in those who are saved.
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus essentially gives a checklist of eight qualities that define every true Christian. One of those qualities is being merciful. But what does the Bible teach about mercy? The Old Testament teaches that mercy or compassion is an attribute of God, meaning that He is a gracious God who desires to extend His mercy to sinners.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says that those who belong to His spiritual kingdom are those who have experienced God’s mercy in salvation and those who manifest that reality by extending mercy to others. He then says of every Christian who extends mercy that they will stand before God someday, and there, on the day of judgment, they will experience God’s everlasting mercy.
In the Old Testament God gave several laws that governed cleanliness and uncleanliness. This was simply to display that God Himself required that He be approached in a specific way. Jesus makes the same point in the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Friend, let me ask you: Are you pure in heart?
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus describes qualities that characterize every person who has repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus then goes on to promise that every true believer will see God. But if God is spirit, how will we as Christians see Him?
Human conflict not only characterizes world history, but it is ever present in our world today. Because all humanity is sinful and we live in a sin-cursed world, conflict is inevitable. But as Christians, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus calls us to a higher standard. He says that all His followers, all those who are subjects of His kingdom, will be characterized by being peacemakers.
The Bible teaches that God is a God of peace; that is one of His many attributes. The Bible also teaches that Jesus came into this world on a rescue mission to make peace between a holy God and sinful people. But in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus calls every one of His followers to be peacemakers. But what exactly does this mean for us as Christians?
Jesus begins His most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, by identifying several qualities that should be present in the life of every Christian. For those who profess to be followers of the biblical Jesus Christ, these qualities should be pursued on a daily basis. Therefore, we as Christians must be dedicated to reading, meditating on, and reviewing the beatitudes as part of our walk with Christ.
Those who are in Jesus’ spiritual kingdom by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone will consistently manifest the beatitudes that Jesus speaks of at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. For us as Christians, it is critical to understand the beatitudes, because they are the entry point to understanding and living out the rest of Jesus’ sermon, which focuses on living for His kingdom right here and now.
During Jesus’ life and ministry He made it clear that all those who are willing to be His followers will suffer persecution—Jesus said to His disciples that if they persecute me, they will persecute you. In fact, that is the teaching of the entire Bible. All those who desire to live godly as part of Christ’s kingdom will suffer and will face persecution.
It is very common today for Christians to misunderstand God’s purposes for allowing His people to be persecuted. Although God is not the author of sin and persecution, He ultimately uses them for His purposes. Not only was this true of Joseph in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament, but it is also true of every believer at all times.