BEATITUDES SERIES: 7 To Live By with Beatitudes in the Background
The Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew) begins with “The Beatitudes” which are at the core of what Jesus Christ teaches His followers. These are not nice platitudes to be held in the heart and then forgotten. No! These are to be meditated upon and applied in our lives. These are truths to live by.
To prime you for a deep dive into “The Beatitudes,” think on these truths so that practical living is in mind when you read:
#1 THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM IS THE FEAR OF GOD
The Beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. But just what is wisdom? We are told where it begins but what is it? I guess we don’t understand wisdom at first, but begin to at least experientially. Learning wisdom grows in the process that begins with fear of God.
#2 WISDOM IS HATING EVIL
Scripture tells us what wisdom is and what is its results. Wisdom is hating evil. Proverbs 8:13 tells us this. If we’re honest, we must admit that we hate when evil is done to us… but other than that, we may not pay it any mind. Do we indeed hate evil? Really hate evil? If we ever find ourselves being unwise, then, we don’t hate evil.
#3 DENY YOURSELF AND FOLLOW ME
Jesus guides our minds in the wise direction of fearing the Lord and hating evil with His directive to “Deny yourself pick up your cross and follow me.” This is extremely significant. This means we are to turn from self to follow Jesus. We are to turn from wickedness. Jesus is sharing a practical manner to walk in life wisely as God Himself and Jesus do no evil.
#4 ABIDE IN ME
In addition to denying self and following Christ, Jesus teaches in John 15 that part of this process is abiding in Him or we can do nothing. Jesus knows all believers in Him will be challenged in following His teachings. On another occasion in Matthew 10:28, He says: “Fear not man who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” He is talking about a place of slaughter.
Abiding in Christ is the wise way to live because of the wisdom displayed in His life and the fear and denial of Himself (His covenant faithfulness) displayed in His death on the cross. We have a living hope because Jesus lived with a human fear of Father God and indeed hated evil.
#5 FEAR GOD AND HATE EVIL
Fear not man who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. We should rather fear Him (God) Who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Gehenna is the place of slaughter. You don’t want to go there.
This, mind you, is said to be the wise way to live. This is the wisdom Jesus displayed in His life and in His death on the cross. We have a living hope because Jesus lived with a human fear of Father God and indeed hated evil. The result, as Scripture records, in the words of Jesus…
#6 IT IS FINISHED
The result of Jesus’ faithfulness and His death on the cross is the words of Jesus, “It is finished.” On the Cross of Calvary, we are shown what hating evil looks like and it looks like loving with all one’s being. When Jesus was pressed, He conquered with love. So, we Follow Jesus who in doing no evil loves us and reveals the way to the Father.
#7 ACKNOWLEDGE HIM IN ALL OUR WAYS
Proverbs 3:6 reminds us to acknowledge Him and He will guide our paths. Adam and Eve did not acknowledge God when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We often do not. To hate evil is to tremble at the Word of God. Let us take Jesus’ words seriously! He said, “I am the bread of life and you can do nothing unless you abide in Me.”
People that fear God trust His words and live by them. They also think things through before they make decisions… because How else can one acknowledge God? When we try to sort life out without God’s help, we will inevitably do evil. Only God is and knows the way that leads to eternal life. God is wise. God does no evil. God hates evil. Jesus has revealed as much in loving the world in the manner in which He did. He has given us the complete wise way to live.