Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seeing the Beatitudes in new light

At first, the Beatitudes just seemed impossible! They were diametrically opposed to everything I had learned about how to be successful in this life, beautiful words that just did not compute. Then, after I learned that Christ within me by his Holy Spirit is my Life and Goodness, I trusted that he was the only one able to fulfill and personify those impossible-to-me attributes so I didn't give them much thought. However, lately I am seeing them in a new light.

Our beloved pastor-through-his-written-sermons, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, has taught me that the Beatitudes and the whole Sermon on the Mount describe those who have been born again into God's Kingdom. Our Lord Jesus is giving us a window into how he lives in God while on earth and how we can as well when we have been born again by his Spirit. As citizens of this whole new way of life, we no longer conform to the pattern of this world, since the world's pattern is corrupt, thoroughly infused with the deceitfulness of vain, darkened sin. We have been delivered into his Kingdom of Light which has a whole new mindset, currency, etc.

Now in all my study over the years of what it means to live in the identity of Christ, never have I seen the Beatitudes included. In those identity in Christ lists, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places and we are the righteousness of Christ in God but never we are poor in spirit, mourning, meek or hungering and thirsting after righteousness. No, we have been saved, made holy, delivered, made righteous, victorious, and filled with his riches in those lists.

Now I have embraced all the truth in those lists and have benefitted greatly from the peace and joy living in these truths has engendered. However, several of my troubling sinful habits were not dealt with. I still compared myself with others, talked about others, judged others, criticized others, fought with others, found fault with others, was wounded by others and sought vengeance, etc. The Lord brought me to face all this sin and I was undone. I was ever seeing the mote in others while the beam was in me!

Now I am seeing that being delivered from sin is both once and for all, and ongoing. To be poor in spirit means to begin to see the depth of my sin so that never for a moment could I think myself better than another. This is an ongoing, continual process. Mourning is learning to hate my sin so I won't go back and wallow in it. (What an astounding, sobering revelation it was to realize that part of the horribleness of sin is that I like to do it!!) Meekness is knowing so well the deceitful nature of my sinfulness that I could never see another and think myself superior to them. Only then could I trust all to God and no longer need to stand up for myself to get vengeance. Only then could I hunger and thirst for his righteousness, to be filled anew with his grace daily. And only then could I be truly merciful as Jesus is. All this leads me to the purity of heart that allows me to see God in the sweet fellowship Jesus's has opened for me. And so on. It is an entirely new way of living life that is both utterly foreign to and greatly hated in the world system. It is the power of God, the love of God shown forth in complete contrast to the world's way of struggling to get on top.

I've known for a long time that living in the Kingdom of God was utterly removed from and foreign to the way of the world system, but this whole crucial core of truth was nearly absent from my concept. It is very sobering and humbling to begin to walk in this light but also welcome and freeing. Through resisting these horrid, sinful habits, I am beginning to walk in the perfect liberty in Christ to truly love others as he loves me. The Beatitudes reveal his nature that he has made possible for me to possess. Thus I am blessed and thereby bless others as I walk in this "more whole" identity of Christ.