Friday, 15 January 2010

Conclusion to Beatitudes

The beatitudes seem to sum up the whole gospel message, showing on the one hand our desperate need of God, yet on the other hand the amazing promises that will be ours once we have acknowledged all that God has done for us in Christ.

Look at the promises Jesus makes – the kingdom of heaven will be ours, we will be comforted, we will inherit the earth, we will have our hunger and thirst for righteousness satisfied, we will be shown mercy, we will see God, we shall be called sons of God, the kingdom of heaven will be ours. These blessings seem to encompass everything that a man could ask for, and so much more besides. All these blessings are promised to those who respond to God’s grace at work in their lives, and respond to the great gift of salvation in Christ through repentance and belief.

The paradoxes seen in the beatitudes are echoed again in Luke’s gospel: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-25).

It is by losing our lives that we will save them. As we acknowledge we are sinners and have no entitlement to ask anything of a holy God, by pleading for His mercy, we lose our lives. We lose our self-esteem, our pride, any sense that we have done anything to deserve merit before God. In looking to Christ as our righteousness and as the one who has obeyed the law perfectly on our behalf then we are saved – and share in the blessings of Christ as we are clothed in His righteousness. As we deny ourselves and our egos, our self-centred living, and recognise that everything is completed in Christ and finds its fulfilment in Him, we will receive the promise of sharing in that glory when all is revealed. As we take up our cross daily, dying to ourselves and crucifying our sinful nature and its passions, and live to God, then we will discover that it is no longer we who live but it is Christ who lives in us, and that we are being conformed to the image of Christ. As our eyes are taken off ourselves and fixed more fully on Christ, we will see how everything points to Him, has its goal in Him, and how one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Praise God!

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