We are getting to the end of the Beatitudes. Jesus will talk about the consequences of being a Committed Christian. And, as you already noticed, it is not a wonderful and easy thing.
Today, Successful Christianity is measured by the amount of money you make, the good things that you have, and the success of your professional, family, and social life. In Jesus’ book this is not so.
If you are a real Christian, obey God and follow Jesus, you will face troubles, and persecution.
Most of the scholars treat the verses 10 to 12 as if they were one Beatitude. I decided to treat them as two independent Beatitudes.
So today we will examine the first one:
Matt. 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We already saw the definition of righteousness: “Righteousness: what is right, justice, the act of doing what is in agreement with God’s standards, the state of being in proper relationship with God”
Righteousness is doing things according to God’s standards; it is behaving in a way that is approved by God in His Word. It means that if you decide to obey God’s Word and do what He asks you, you will be persecuted.
Let us see the ways we should do that and the results. We also will see who the righteous are.
1 – THOSE WHO STOP DOING THE WRONG THING
There are two righteousness attitudes that produce persecution; the first one is when we stop doing the wrong things.
It is very important for us to understand that we are dealing with the last steps in the Christian Journey. It means that we believe in Christ, we have a commitment with Him and His Word, and we practice His teachings.
In this whole process in our Christian journey we will put away behaviors that should not be part of Real Christian Life.
The problem is that when we do that, people around us will not be happy, and that includes some of our friends, family members, colleagues, and bosses.
In his first letter the Apostle Peter says this: “1Pet. 3:9-12 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
In the next chapter he mentions this: “1Pet. 4:2-5 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So, they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead.”
In the verse 4 Peter says that our former friends will be surprised with the new direction of our life. Because of Christ in our lives we will not do the same old things that we used to do, and because of that, we will get in trouble sometimes. People will not understand why we are not doing those things anymore.
Paul in Ephesians says this: “Eph. 4:22-29 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
It is clear that because of the presence of Jesus in our lives we will stop doing things that God in His Word considers wrong and unrighteous.
Have a blessed week,