You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
The Beatitudes — Was Jesus Commanding Passivity, Martyrdom, Literal Poverty, and Worthlessness to Inherit Blessing and Eternal Life?
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In the Beatitudes, Jesus was definitely not commanding passivity, martyrdom, literal poverty, or worthlessness to inherit blessing and eternal life. Jesus was preparing His disciples to expect adversity in this world and commanded them to minister to sinners in the opposite spirit by living in His inward Moral Law of Love and Truth. Yet, this is easier said than done. Even though the Holy Spirit indwells all true disciples, we still have our own humanity to deal with. That is why we must “renew or transform” our minds (thoughts, will, intellect, and emotions) to understand His Word and live under the control of the Spirit, (Rom. 12:1-2.)
Jesus blessed such obedience in Mt. 5:2-12 and said, “Blessed is the poor in spirit, [the humble and unselfish,] for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, [the sorrow of repentance and suffering,] for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, [not weak, but self-disciplined and submitted to God,] for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, [waiting for God’s justice and leaving all vengeance to Him,] for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, [who seek the salvation of souls, and take care of people and God’s creatures,] for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, [the sincere and loyal] for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, [not peace at any price, but according to Jesus’ true Gospel and Moral Law,] for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is... heaven. For when they revile and abuse you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted [all the righteous believers] before you.”
Then Jesus taught us exactly how to live in these blessings. (Paraphrased.) Should we offend someone else, we must hurriedly confess our sin and repent – which is Godly love for people and the easy part of human relations, (Jam. 5:16-18.) And when people hate, persecute, and lie to us, we must also respond with Godly love and do good to them by praying for them, speaking the whole truth to them, etcetera. If our enemies lay wounded, we must take physical care of them as the Holy Spirit leads us. And even if they continue to hate and persecute us, we should not allow them to upset us but remain obedient to The Word. Love, prayer, forgiveness, and kind deeds to those who hate us are not feelings but firm decisions to stay faithful to Jesus.
Jesus then took obedience to a spiritual level. He said, if someone is angry with you “without cause,” love him or her enough to “leave your gift before the altar, [prayers, praise and thanksgiving to God,] and first be reconciled with that person [as far as it depends on you;] then come and offer your gift.” If that angry person does not repent, he or she is “in danger of judgment” because sinful anger is emotional murder, which can spiral into physical murder, (1 Jn. 3:15.)
“[Do not be vengeful.] If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek also.” This does not mean we must be his punching bag. A slap on the cheek is an insult, not a violent attack. So, do not be angered by minor offenses. Allow one more offense before confronting the problem as Jesus commanded in Mt. 18:15-20. And “if he wants to take your tunic, [shirt, etcetera,] let him have your cloak [jacket] also.” Jesus was not saying we must let people rob us blind. All these commandments address minor offenses against us to teach us not to retaliate in a way that is childish, selfish, and idolatrous. We must always “do unto others as we want them to do unto us.” If we do not want to be mistreated, we must never mistreat others...
May God give us the grace to obey Jesus’ teachings in all our relationships, which is the Moral Law that will judge us in the Last Day, as He warned in Jn. 12:48. Of course, we cannot do this by ourselves. That is why we have the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who will remind us of the Beatitudes, so that we can stay blessed by loving God, others, and ourselves according to the Moral Law, which is written on every human heart.
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