Are you characterized by being mournful? I hope you are. In our previous few Little Lessons we’ve been looking at the beginning of what are commonly referred to as “the Beatitudes,” right at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. They are the characteristics of the blessed.
Who are the blessed? The blessed are the people who are on the road to heaven, and that becomes very clear as you read through all of them. The first one of course was, “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit …” we defined that over the last two Little Lessons. “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The second one, in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 4, follows logically after the first beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Now, again, this is not a unique characteristic for some Christians who get a unique blessing. This, again, as we read through all the beatitudes, what I’m claiming here becomes irrefutably clear, these are characteristics that are shared by all true believers, and the blessings that they are promised, all can be summed up in, “One day you’re going to be a member, a citizen of God’s kingdom.” There’s is the kingdom of heaven, and those who are mourning now, they shall be comforted.
So you might ask yourself the question, “Well, I thought one of the fruit of the Spirit is joy, and so Christians ought to be characterized by joy.” Well, that is of course true, and we’re never going to mitigate anything else that’s in the Bible because of this one verse. But as I’ve said over and over again, when you read a verse in the Bible, make sure your interpretation of that verse harmonizes with what the rest of the Bible teaches, because the themes run throughout the whole Bible, the important ones certainly do.
So in what way should all Christians be mournful? Well, the previous beatitude, those who are poor or beggarly in spirit, they’re obviously mourning in those cases about their own sin, which is what drives them to the foot of the cross, drives them to God, and cry out to Him for mercy and forgiveness and grace. So we’re mournful, first of all, over our own sins that indicate at one time that we were rebels against God without any cause. But on the wider scale of the entire world, we’re mournful about everyone’s rebellion against God, it just bugs us, it makes us so sad inwardly. It’s something you don’t ever get any relief from, because it’s always there.
I’m thinking of a verse in Romans chapter 9, I think it’s around verse number 22, but don’t quote me on that, where Paul said, “I’ve got great sorrow, and unceasing grief in my heart.” You get that? Great sorrow, unceasing grief in my heart. Why? Well, in that case he was talking specifically about his countrymen, the descendants of Israel, and he has great sorrow and unceasing grief because of their rejection of their Messiah. Now, was Paul depressed about that? Always under a dark cloud, gloom and doom? No, no, no, no. No doubt he experienced also that joy unspeakable and full of glory, he wrote about that, right?
So it’s kind of odd that we can be both joyful and mournful at the same time, but this is something every true believer knows. We have the promise from Jesus that we will be comforted. Now, you could interpret that various ways. I tend to think that the comfort is a future comfort that’s coming when God’s kingdom is established on this earth, and there’s nothing to be sorrowful about. You know, God’s going to wipe away all of our tears, we’re told in Scripture. There will be no more sorrow. But for now, our greatest sorrow is people’s rebellion towards God, and so naturally, that’s why we share the gospel, that’s why we try to let our light shine before other people, so that they’ll see, in hopes that they’ll wake up, come out of their slumber and sleep, and awake to righteousness, and awake to faith and repentance in Jesus Christ. That’s motivated partially by that mournful feeling that we’ve got.
You know, it’s interesting, Paul wrote that the entire creation groans and it mourns, as it were, waiting for the revelation of the sons of God, waiting for our redemption. Because this is not the end game, folks, this is just the testing time. God’s got a better plan for us than what’s going on on this planet right now. One day our prayers will be answered that we prayed over and over again, “May your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” One day, one day.
I think, this view of what it means to be consistently mournful as a characteristic of a blessed person who’s going to inherit the kingdom of God, who’s going to be comforted one day. It fits very well into the very next beatitude that Christ lists where He says, “Blessed are those who …” Excuse me, not the next one. We’ll have to skip one. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” See, again, that reflects that true believers, the blessed people, hunger and thirst for righteousness on every level. But one of the levels that we hunger and thirst for righteousness is of course the worldwide level. We want everyone to repent and believe in Jesus and experience all the blessings now and in the future that await for those kinds of folks. So it bugs us, it bugs us, and does it bug us?
Okay, so are you characterized by mourning for these things, as was the apostle Paul? He spoke specifically of his unceasing grief, his great sorrow for his countrymen. But of course that carried over into everybody who hadn’t yet come to the light, who was still walking in darkness. Does that characterize you? Well, then, you are blessed, because that shows you’ve been born again and you’re heading towards the kingdom of heaven, and even though you’re mourning now, don’t worry, one day you will be comforted. Praise God, no more sadness, no more tears, because there are going to be new heavens and a new earth, Jesus ruling and reigning over it all, and everybody who’s in that kingdom will be joyfully submissive to Him.
All right, thank you so much for joining me on today’s little lesson. God bless you