WHAT DID JESUS MEAN BY HIS BEATITUDE
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
With each beatitude another nail is driven into a coffin.
Inside the coffin lies the corpse of a false understanding of salvation.
The false understanding said that a person can be saved without being changed. Or: that a person can inherit eternal life even if his attitudes and actions are like the attitudes and actions of unbelievers.
The Cry of the Beatitudes
Get a New Heart
One after the other the beatitudes tell us that the blessings of eternity will be given only to those who have become new creatures.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
If we don't obtain mercy, we receive judgment.
If we don't see God, we are not in heaven.
If we aren't called the sons of God, we are outside the family.
In other words these are all descriptions of final salvation.
And it is promised only to the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.
Therefore the beatitudes are like long spikes holding down the lid of the coffin on the false teaching which says that if you just believe in Jesus you will go to heaven whether or not you are merciful or pure in heart or a peacemaker.
In fact, from beginning to end the Sermon on the Mount cries out, "Get yourself a new heart!
Become a new person!
The river of judgment is at the door!"
You recall the words of verse 20: "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"
And at the very end of the sermon in 7:26f. the Lord calls out over the crowds,
"Every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
In other words, a life of disobedience to the beatitudes and to the Sermon on the Mount will not stand in the judgment no matter what we believe!
Not Optional Suggestions but the Path to Heaven
I have been convicted this past week that I have probably not treated this dimension of the beatitudes with as much earnestness and seriousness as I should, and that the care that I have for your eternal good has not shown itself as genuinely as it must.
My conscience was pricked in reading an old book by Horatius Bonar to pastors in which he said,
Our words are feeble, even when sound and true; our looks are careless, even when our words are weighty; and our tones betray the apathy which both words and looks disguise.
Words to Winners of Souls, p. 55
So I want to impress upon your consciences this morning with as much earnestness as I can that in the beatitudes Jesus is not making optional suggestions, and this sermon is not a series of suggestions on how to make the world better.
On the contrary, Jesus is describing the pathway to heaven, and this sermon is a message from God to urge you to get on that pathway and stay on that pathway so that you can be called sons of God at the last judgment.
That is what is at stake this morning.
If you are on the narrow path which leads to life, my purpose is to help you stay on it.
And if you are still in the broad way that leads to destruction, my purpose is to direct you to the path of life.
How to Become Sons of God
When Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God," he does not tell us how to become a son of God. He simply says that sons of God are in fact peacemakers. People who are peacemakers will be recognized as the sons of God at the judgment and they will be called what they are and welcomed into the Father's house.
To see how to become sons of God we can look, for example, at
"To all who received him Jesus, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God."
And Galatians 3:26says,
"For in Christ we are all sons of God through faith."
In other words, we become sons of God by trusting in Christ for our forgiveness and hope.
Give us a better of your word and inspire me.
I am standing in Your way.
I seek to please and serve You.
Give me greater understanding of Your Truth.
In Jesus’ name.