This week, Pastor Ted Wilson talks about the fifth, sixth, and seventh blessings Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
Looking around, the world is growing colder and darker. Wars are raging. Political unrest is rising. Harsh words are spoken. Relationships are broken. Families in conflict. Pride and revenge are prominent. Indeed, humanity has fallen from God’s ideal.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Yet, showing mercy and forgiveness does not come naturally to the human heart for it is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). But when we experience God’s mercy and forgiveness, our hearts melt with compassion for those who need them.
On page 22 of the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, Ellen White says, "God is Himself the Source of all mercy…He does not treat us according to our desert. He does not ask if we are worthy of His love but He pours upon us the riches of His love to make us worthy. He is not vindictive. He seeks not to punish but to redeem."
God calls us to be like Him, saving the lost and showing mercy and compassion to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed. True enough, "there are many to whom life is a painful struggle; they feel their deficiencies and are miserable and unbelieving; they think they have nothing for which to be grateful…A word of sympathy, an act of kindness, would lift burdens that rest heavily upon weary shoulders. And every word or deed of unselfish kindness is an expression of the love of Christ for lost humanity" (page 23).
During Jesus’ time on earth, the Jewish leaders were very concerned about outward purity that they made hundreds of rules and regulations for people to follow. But this was not the kind of purity Jesus was talking about when He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). Instead, God cares about the heart, the mind, and the motivation for doing something. When He lives in our hearts, our thoughts and actions will be pure and refined.
More than being free from sensuality and lust, purity is being "true in the hidden purposes and motives of the soul, free from pride and self-seeking, humble, unselfish, [and] childlike" (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 25). This is why Jesus said that unless we become like "little children," we will "by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).
Finally, "blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God," (Matthew 5:9). "Christ is the Prince of Peace…and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken" (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 27).
When we confess our sins and accept Jesus’ forgiveness, He gives us peace. And when we accept that peace, He transforms us and helps us to be at peace with others.
With this, He calls us to be peacemakers. As Ellen White writes in Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, on page 28, "Christ's followers are sent to the world with the message of peace. Whoever, by the quiet, unconscious influence of a holy life, shall reveal the love of Christ; whoever, by word or deed, shall lead another to renounce sin and yield his heart to God, is a peacemaker."
Jesus is inviting you now to come to Him and be filled with His mercy and love, to be pure in heart, and to be a peacemaker.
To learn more about this topic, read Ellen White's book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing and download its digital copy at https://egwwritings.org/.