Who is the blessed one? Part 2 (Matthew 5:3)

Aug 3, 2022

Several months ago, I wrote a blog on the first beatitude. Today, I would like to return to the Sermon on the Mount and the second beatitude. In so doing, I will begin this blog with the same two opening paragraphs as my previous blog in order to set the stage.


Most of you are probably familiar with the Sermon on the Mount. In this blog, I would like to consider the second beatitude, but before I get to it, let me encourage you to consider how the beatitudes are arranged. They are not isolated statements but a unified whole that describes Christian character. As Christians, this is what we are to be. In one word, it is different. As one walks through the beatitudes, he will see that Christians are to be different from the world. There should be a notable difference, a distinction. Each one starts with the word “blessed” which could also be translated “happy” though happy, as it is normally understood in our culture, does not really capture the idea. It is not merely the absence of sadness or a jovial attitude. Martin Lloyd-Jones captures some of the idea when he says,


“Happiness is the great question confronting mankind. The whole world is longing for happiness, and it is tragic to observe the ways in which people are seeking it. The vast majority alas are doing so in a way that is bound to produce misery. Anything which, by evading the difficulties merely makes people happy for the time being, is ultimately going to add to their misery and problems. That is where the utter deceitfulness of sin comes in; it is always offering happiness, and it always leads to unhappiness and to final misery and wretchedness. The Sermon the Mount says, however, that if you really want to be happy, here is the way. This and this alone is the type of person who is truly happy, who is really blessed” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount pp.24-25).


So, who is really blessed according to Jesus?


“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”


Blessed is an objective reality. A judgement made by God. This objective reality may lead to or produce the subjective feeling of happiness but what Jesus is saying or referring to is the objective nature of this reality. This state is not dependent upon circumstances. The one who is poor in spirit is blessed regardless of the circumstances of life. One’s circumstances may change or may remain the same. They may be relatively better or worse but the state of being blessed does not change.


But who is this blessed one?


Jesus says it is the one who mourns. This statement is not a general statement about mourning. It is not saying that mourning per se is a blessed state. Much like the previous verse, you should notice that what this verse is calling you to is a spiritual mourning. Verse three dealt with spiritual poverty and so verse four deals with spiritual mourning. Again, like before, you should also note the difference between the Christian and the world. Here Jesus himself says blessed are those who mourn while the world would have us do everything we can to avoid mourning. The world provides (and sadly many churches are providing) more and more entertainment in order to escape from mourning.


So, what does Jesus mean by blessed are those who mourn? As I said, it is a spiritual mourning and it becomes clearer if you keep in mind the first beatitude. Once you see your spiritual poverty, you mourn your sin and the sin you see in the world. Mourning over your sin should be a natural consequence of seeing your spiritual poverty. When one sees that indwelling sinful habits still exist, it should lead to mourning.


How does one come to mourn his sin? You must examine your life and you must examine it before God. Once you do this, your sin becomes all the clearer and that should produce mourning. At the end of the day, throughout the day, stop and examine your thoughts, the words you have spoken, the tone you have used. Ask “what was I wanting in that moment?” “Why was I so irritable?” “Why did I get angry?” “Why can I not be happy that things are going well for that person?” Pray that God would give you eyes to see your sin. Ask others to help you see your sin and, when it is revealed, pray that God would break you over your sin. This person also mourns over the sin seen in the world and the effects it is having. This person sees the sin in the world and in himself as an affront to a Holy God and it grieves him. As I said earlier, this attitude of mourning is in direct contrast to the world who seeks to justify sin, normalize sin, legalize sin. Forget about mourning over it. The world celebrates sin and wants nothing to do with mourning. Guilty consciences run to any number of things (sex, drugs, alcohol, food, sleep, medication, cutting, etc.) in an effort to find relief.


But notice why those who mourn are blessed.


for they shall be comforted


The one who truly mourns over his sin will be comforted as he confesses his sin and repents of his sin. The comfort spoken of is the comfort of Christ’s atoning work. The one who sees his sin, the one who sees his spiritual poverty, is comforted when the Holy Spirit sets this one’s eyes on the Savior. The comfort is not necessarily a change in circumstances. The comfort is not necessarily an easier road ahead. The comfort is a clear conscience before God. The comfort is knowing that you are right with God because of the blood of Christ. The comfort is knowing that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The comfort comes at salvation and is the comfort one knows throughout this life as one who belongs to God. You sin and your conscience smites you. You see your sin and run to the cross and there you confess and repent, you plead the merits of Christ, and all is made right. Those who mourn also receive the comfort of knowing a day is coming when sin will be no more. It will be banished and, for the first time, we will relate to God without the interference of our sin. There is great comfort in knowing the battle with sin will come to an end one day. The comfort those who mourn over their sin receive is the comfort of redemption.


May God lead all of us to mourn over our sin.


By His Grace Alone,


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