Saturday, November 25, 2023

2023.11.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 5:4–6

Read Matthew 5:4–6

Questions from the Scripture text: Who are blessed in Matthew 5:4? What will be done to them? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:5? How? Who are blessed in Matthew 5:6? For what do they hunger? What else do they do for righteousness? What will be done for them?

What is the inner life of a believer like? Matthew 5:4–6 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the inner life of a believer is one of longing for Christ, and for what we shall be like, in Him, at last.

Blessed are those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). Those who are poor in spirit, who know Christ to be their only wealth, already have the kingdom (Matthew 5:3b). But despite the “already” of having the kingdom, they mourn that it has not yet come in its fullness. They still pray, “Thy kingdom come” (cf. Matthew 6:10).  They grieve that they do not yet see all things subjected to Christ (cf. Hebrews 2:8, Romans 8:18–25). Their eyes still cry tears, because death and sorrow and sin and pain continue (cf. Revelation 21:4). 

But if we mourn over our sin and misery and all ongoing effects of the fall, as those who hate everything that is against Christ (Matthew 5:4a), then we must surely be comforted in the completion of the working out of the effects of His victory (verse 4b). The days for these grievous things are numbered. They shall be ended. Then, those who mourn shall be everlastingly comforted. One of the things that most pains us is the feeling that comfort will never come. But let such feelings be overruled by the truth of Christ—by the reality of Christ! They shall, indeed, be comforted.

Blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5). The believer continually experiences something much more troubling than the fact that the cosmos is not yet what it ought to be. The believer himself is not what he ought to be. For that reason, he is meek before God and before men. Before God, faith has learned not to murmur or complain of Him or of His providence, because faith in this life is keenly aware that we are not yet what we ought to be. God is making us what we ought to be, so we yield to whatever His fatherly wisdom and goodness determine to give us.

The partially sanctified believer also refuses to think highly of himself in comparison to others. And he does not attempt to inflate others’ opinion of himself. This comes with a great present blessedness. If we do not advance our own reputation or our own interests, but meekly know our place as unprofitable servants at best (Matthew 5:5a), we find that resting in Christ elevates us to the status of joint-heirs with Him (verse 5b)—even if, for a time, we suffer as we wait for the inheritance (cf. Romans 8:17). And, it gives us an even greater future blessedness, as we come into the full inheritance of the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). There is a contentedness with God in the meekness of Matthew 5:5, but we have already begun to consider how it is accompanied by a holy discontentedness with ourselves. In this life, we simply are not righteous like we ought to be (and neither are others toward us). If our hunger and thirst is for righteousness, we will be constantly hungry and thirsty (Matthew 5:6a)! This simply isn’t the new heavens and earth in which righteousness dwells (cf. 2 Peter 3:13). 

Again, there is a filling that is present. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness find that Christ Himself is satisfying. We even praise God that He is completely satisfied with us in Christ. But, the God Who loves us with adopting love is not satisfied to leave us as we are. He is determined to conform us to the image of His Son (cf. Romans 8:29).  Therefore, we are not satisfied to remain as we are. Trying to live that way is a common mistake of our antinomian age. But the promise in Matthew 5:6 is set in the future. They shall be filled. Our happiness is forward-looking to glory. 

Here is a marvelous guarantee: we in whom the Spirit has created this hunger shall ultimately be filled. The work that He has begun in us WILL be completed (cf. Philippians 1:6). We WILL be conformed to Christ’s image (cf. Romans 8:29–30). And even as we purify ourselves as He is pure, we are doing this precisely because we have that assured hope that we will be like Him (cf. 1 John 3:2–3).

In what way has grace taught you to mourn? Over what, specifically, have you been mourning by this grace? How has your meekness before God been presenting itself in your life? How has your meekness before men been presenting itself in your life? In what particular ways have you been hungering and thirsting for righteousness? In what way can you be satisfied now? In what other ways are you sure to be satisfied later? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving us Christ, so that we may be blessed already in Him. And thank You for producing in us, by Your Spirit, holy groaning and longing for the ultimate fulfillment of all that You have desired for us and Christ has won for us. Grant unto us to live happily as those who know already the satisfaction that is absolutely sure to be completely fulfilled in Christ, we ask through His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH464 “The Beatitudes”

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