The unifying theme of the sermon on the mount seems to be the kingdom of heaven. The promised blessing or favor is both present and future. Verse 3 says “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And verse 5 says the “meek shall inherit the earth.” These are all future promises that the believer has to look forward to.
The present blessing spoken about in the sermon seem to be connected to the hope we receive when we believe and cling to the truthful promises from God’s Word. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” If I am merciful, I shall receive mercy. I may not receive mercy from those around me, but I shall receive mercy from the Lord Jesus who promised me mercy.
The beatitudes have to be taken in context of the entirety of Scripture as well. It is not as if I can earn the favor of God and gain access to the heavenly kingdom by becoming a merciful person. Verse 48 says, “you therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
If the quality needed for entrance in to heaven is perfection, then everyone is out. No wait, not everyone; Jesus was perfect. So, Jesus is the one and only person with the VIP access to the eternal kingdom. But wasn’t he in heaven before his incarnation? What additional access does he have now that he didn’t have then? Hmm, maybe that’s the wrong question. What additions to his access does he offer now?
Ephesians 2:8- says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” God offers VIP access to those who place their faith in Jesus alone. We can not be perfect, but we can trust in the one who is. Faith alone in Christ alone is the lone access we need.
Blessings this Lord’s Day!