“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely hon my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.'” (Matthew 5:2-11, ESV)
The chapters in Matthew’s gospel that constitute the Sermon on the Mount are the most complete and clear description in the Bible of the principles of the Kingdom of God. We are not first and foremost citizens of our nation: we are primarily citizens of the Kingdom of God. And there is a great gap between the culture and values of the world and the Kingdom. So in the Sermon on the Mount, we find our value system, our standard of ethics and of religious devotion. These, though much admired, are totally at odds with the values of the world. These standards tell us that we are under the rule and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is so wonderful to hear the words of Jesus in the Beatitudes. They bring such comfort and peace to troubled hearts. The underlying basis for the tenets and principles of the Kingdom lies within the beatitudes, 8 blessings given for 8 qualities that Christians manifest. These 8 qualities are not a smorgasbord from which we can pick and choose. They are an interconnected group that describes every believer. Each one is to be poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker and each will be persecuted. These characteristics constitute the responsibilities as well as the privileges and blessings of the Kingdom which God bestows upon those in whom He is carrying out His work of sanctification. He enables us to follow His commands and blesses us as we do.