Afterthoughts on Matthew 5:4

For those of you that don’t know, I am currently preaching through the Beatitudes in our Sunday morning. And this morning we were on the second beatitude (Matthew 5:4). Due to time I could not say everything I wanted to say, so I want to post here some afterthoughts on Matthew 5:4.

In his commentary on this particular beatitude Leon Morris writes:

Perhaps we should bear in mind that typically the worldly take a lighthearted attitude to the serious issues of life, a fact that is very evidentin our modern pleasure-loving generation. In their seeking after self-gratification and pleasure they do not grieve over sin or evil. Because they do not grieve over what is wrong in themselves, they do not repent; andbecause they do not grieve over the wrong they share with others in the communities in which they live, they take few steps to set things right. Because they are not moved by the plight of the poor and the suffering, they make no move to help the world’s unfortunates. It may be that Jesus is saying that our values are wrong and that it is those who mourn in the face of the evils that are part and parcel of life as we know it, those who mourn over the way God’s cause is so often neglected and his people despised, who are the truly blessed ones.[1]

We live in days of “easy believism,” “easy salvation,” or “easy conversion,” but when you read biographies of godly men that God used in the past, you will find men mourning over their sins regularly in a period of time. For example, John Bunyan (author of the Pilgrim’s Progress) was in 18 months of agony over his soul. Martin Luther spent many months mourning over his sins. Robert Murray McCheyen’s powerful preaching ministry was due to his continual weeping and mourning for his sin and sins of others in his private study. In his 95 Theses Martin Luther said that Christian’s entire life is a continuous act of repentance and contrition. And the Puritan Christians often called themselves “the repentanters” when referring to Christians. So, God help us to be the people who genuinely repent and mourn so that we may be comforted by God!

  • NAU James 4:9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.

  • NAU Hebrews 12:6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

The closer the Christian lives to God, the more will he mourn over all that dishonors Him (cf. Psalm 119:53; Jeremiah 13:17; Ezekiel 9:4).Last week I received an encouraging email from one of our church members whom I will keep it anonymous. This individual spent a day fasting and praying for our country and election. This person writes:

My heart and mind were burdened for our country and for this election – I read and prayed through portions of these chapters: Daniel 9, Jonah 3, Nehemiah 1 and Joel 1. Those men knew how to humble themselves and stand in the gap for their people and the wickedness that was so prevalent. I certainly don’t put myself on the spiritual level of those men/prophets but I wanted to join many others across our county that day who were humbly petitioning the Lord to have mercy on our country.

Do you pray like that? Standing in the gap for the people and the wickedness that is prevalent in our culture and our churches? Do you weep and mourn for such individuals that are living in self-destructing lifestyle? Do you plead God for them?


[1] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 97.

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