Sanctification is the process that is promised to follow that of repentance. This is the fulfillment of our great desiring of righteousness.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Mercy is one of those words that has been defined in a myriad of ways. People have defined it according to their own ideas, disregarding the Bible’s use of it utterly. Others have been more conscientious, and tried to hold to a more exegetical definition. The definition that Webster’s 1828 dictionary provides us, is, from my research, the most reliable source for determining why the translators translated eleemon as merciful. What he tells us is that mercy is forgiving kindness towards an unworthy offender. It is treating someone better than they deserve. This is absolutely commanded for Christians. It is also the keystone of righteousness (see this article for more on that).
Mercy is the epitome of love, it was the focus of Calvary, and it is our greatest struggle. We want restitution, and that is not wrong. God is perfectly just, and He even instituted government to exact restitution. But we who are not in that office are commanded to forgive and love despite every wrong that can be hurled at us. We do this because that is what Christ did for us.
Philippians 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 2:1-5 If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.
3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Merciful love is one of the most important fruits of the Spirit. It very possible is the most important. Seek it with every ounce of your being, and leave nothing lacking in your quest to acquire it. Yield to the Holy Spirit working it in you, for it is impossible for your to have true love on your own. You need Christ in you.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
This has, and can have, several different applications. But from what I have learned, it is referring to a singleness of mind, a unified dedication of the spirit, and a clean system of motives. It is a complete dedication of your life to God, worked out in your life. It is a rejection of the world’s mentality, and an adherence to God’s truth. It is also the equivalent of the second step in the series expounded upon in Philippians 1:9-11, and the fact that it follows mercy, love, is no accident. This specific step is expounded upon in great detail elsewhere in Scripture: at Ephesians 1:15-19 and also in Colossians 1:8-11. I will summarize these as they apply to this beatitude: true wisdom can only come from drawing near to God by showing love to others. Love must come first, or your knowledge and understanding serves only to puff you up and destroy you in pride and self-righteousness (1 Cor. 8:1).
Ephesians 1:15-19 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Colossians 1:8-11 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it,] do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
1 Cor. 8:1 … Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
Proverbs 2:1-11 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: [he is] a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; [yea,] every good path.
10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
Beware lest you become too zealous of wisdom before you are firmly grounded in love! But once you have the love of God in your heart, then earnestly seek wisdom, for it is a crucial step. Beg God to show you where you are and then work at the next step!
Matthew 5:9 Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines a peacemaker as “One who makes peace by reconciling parties that are at variance.” For the longest time (until this morning, actually), I was puzzled about the placing of this beatitude, as well as its meaning. It seemed too straightforward. Obviously someone who makes peace would be called a child of God. But what kind of peacemaking is this beatitude talking about? Well, I began thinking about how the Bible tells us to make peace.
James 4:1 From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?
Lust is the root of strife and enmity. So to combat strife we need to combat lust in the lives of those around us. Lust is a wrongful desire, so to eradicate a wrongful desire you replace it with a right desire (Romans 6 & 8). Very simple, very true, very hard. You need to dedicate all your desire to God, and make Him your crowning passion to conquer lust. That is, in essence, the sum of what we have been doing in all those previous steps. But now we are to help others do it: show them the steps and how to follow them!
There are many ways to accomplish this. But all of them center around glorifying God in our lives. To be a peacemaker we need to teach, exhort, and help others to love and glorify God. This is the Great Commission, for Christ is the Gospel: we are spreading abroad the Gospel when we are manifesting Christ in our lives. This is the crown of sanctification: to glorify God to others for their sakes.
With joy and peace in Christ,