Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Saints Day

O Almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit together as one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which You had prepared for those who love You; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Life for the Christian is a life that is lived by faith – On this All Saints Day Jesus the greatest teacher who has ever lived gives a description of the child of God who has been incorporated into the family of faith. These Beatitudes are the gifts the Savior has given to you.

1. Comfort for those who mourn now – Vs. 4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. "Mourn" describes a person who becomes aware of his personal offense to God and the pain that he has brought to others by his sinful behavior. The believer sees beyond consequences of his wrongdoing into the real offenses done to others. Mourning specifically over the sins we have committed against God - Sorrow for the fact that our sins brought God’s Son to the cross. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24). Mourning or godly sorrow leads to repentance and salvation and thus eternal comfort. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

2. Fulfillment of the desire for goodness – Vs. 6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Hunger and thirst for righteousness" describes a man's relentless pursuit of God's righteous standards which he can only gain from God. He looks beyond himself for new standards of conduct and embraces God’s strength to obtain what he so desperately desires. Genuine humility, godly sorrow for one’s sin, and meekness leads to the desire to be right with God. Righteousness is attained through Christ. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30)

To gain the righteousness found in Christ, one must obey His gospel and continue to obey the truth or practice righteousness. (1 John 3:7). True spiritual fulfillment is given to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. (Matthew 5:6).

3. Mercy for those who are merciful now – Vs. 7 - Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. “Merciful" is a tender compassion for those in the wrong around them. Because he too has been forgiven, he cares for the special needs of those around him. Seized by his own unworthiness, he reaches out to others with compassion. The mercy of God is the source of motivation to show mercy toward others. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). Mercy is demonstrated, in part, by our willingness to forgive others. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32). Only the merciful will receive mercy on Judgment Day. …judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:13)

4. A vision of God for the pure in heart – Vs.8 - Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. "Pure in heart" speaks not of a person's old heart but his new heart and motivation. God has given the ability to seek the welfare of others above the desires for oneself. Refusing to focus on himself, he sincerely opens his heart to what God and others desire. .Pure in Heart means clean, pure of sin, sincere, earnest devotion to God. It is a pure longing for God, serving Him only. A pure heart is achieved by the help of God. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). Christians are to be committed to cleansing their hearts (and lives) of sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). To see God or maintain fellowship with Him requires purity of heart. Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:8).
These Beatitudes are not some new kind of new Law given to us. They are not rules for the righteous. They are rather a description of those who are in Christ. The Beatitudes describe both who Jesus is and what He gives to all who, by faith, have been incorporated into Him. You, dear friend are blessed. The Kingdom of Heaven is yours! You shall see God for you are called the sons of God - for you belong to Christ.

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