Overflowing mercy

As we continue the study of the Beatitudes this Sunday, there are some questions raised by the next Beatitude, Matthew 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Does it mean that if I show mercy God will show mercy to me? Does it then mean that God accepts into heaven those who are merciful?

This Beatitude needs to be understood in the context of the whole sermon. All of the Beatitudes are connected and are in a logical sequence. Charles Spurgeon called them a “ladder of light” with each rung leading further upward. Jesus begins by defining those who are in the Kingdom of God as being “poor in spirit” (verse 3). They realise that they have nothing spiritually and cannot contribute in any way to their salvation. Jesus then says that those who acknowledge their poverty go further to “mourn” over sin (verse 4). Sin grieves them. This in turn leads them to be, “meek” (verse 5), submissive to all of God’s dealings with them. Thus, rather than feeling miserable they long to be holy and live holy lives, and they “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (verse 6).

While the first four Beatitudes concentrate on the believer’s inner condition, in the next four Jesus goes on to describe the way this is outwardly expressed. The person filled with righteousness will touch the lives of others in what Jesus calls “mercy”. This is of the overflow from the heart. The believer was “poor in spirit” and God showed mercy by sending Jesus to provide salvation, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (Titus 3:5). As a result, the “born again” person will show mercy and compassion out of a heart changed by God.

The answers to the questions which I posed at the beginning will be considered this Sunday, DV (Deo Volenti – God being willing). However, in brief, let it be said that those who have been shown mercy by God will show mercy in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This flows out of a heart transformed by God and not in order to merit mercy. “He saved us, not because of works done by us” (Titus 3:5).

A righteous heart overflows with mercy.

I trust that you will join us this Sunday as we worship, hear God’s Word and have a time of fellowship together.

Grace be with you,

Bruce Davie, Pastor/Elder.

Sermon title: “Being merciful” Matthew 5:7

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