Key Scripture: Matthew 5:3-12. v. 3 poor in spirit; v. 4 those who mourn; v. 5 the meek; v. 6 those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; v. 7 the merciful; v. 8 the pure in heart; v. 9 the peacemakers; v. 10-12 those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
In verses 3-12 we see eight defining marks of a Christian. In other words, the character and conduct described here are a description of those already in the kingdom. Notice v. 2 tells us Jesus has come to teach. He is teaching His followers. Thus, the traits described here are “pronouncements of salvation” (Quarles).
These character traits are not like spiritual gifts. John Stott writes, “Unlike the gifts of the Spirit which he distributes to different members of Christ’s body in order to equip them for different kinds of service, the same Spirit is concerned to work all these Christian graces in us all.” Did you catch that? All the marks belong in all the believers. This is who we are called to be as followers of Christ. Consequently, citizens of God’s kingdom should look very different from citizens of the world. In other words, those who follow Christ should reflect horizontally, what we enjoy vertically.
Each mark or trait is “blessed” (a word we will look at on day 9) by the latter part of each verse: v. 3 kingdom of heaven, v. 4 comfort, v. 5 inheriting the earth, v. 6 satisfied, v. 7 mercy, v. 8 see God, v. 9 called sons of God, v. 10-12 kingdom of heaven. Just as these character traits describe one who is in the kingdom, so do the blessings describe the privileges enjoyed by that citizen. We don’t earn these—they are graciously bestowed on us by our loving and kind God.
Questions to Consider:
Are you a member of God’s kingdom? Which character traits do you reflect well? Which traits are hard to see in your day to day life? Do you give God praise and thanksgiving daily for all the privileges you enjoy as God’s child?
Father, show me my sinful state that I may be ever poor in spirit and rich in gratefulness. Continue your sanctifying work in me that I may obey your commands, conform to your image, and relinquish my life to your every good desire.