We continue through the beatitudes this week, and we find ourselves almost at the end of the list. In this beatitude we read what could be a culmination of living for Christ. There are some who preach that once a person believes in Jesus, and commits their lives to Him, their life will be smooth sailing. There will be no more money problems, relationship problems, etc. This verse in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount and straight out of Jesus’ mouth stands in stark contrast to this idea. We read in Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I think that this verse finds a substantial application today. Righteousness seems to be a floating idea in our culture, and moves back and forth with cultural trends. Let us be completely clear here, this is not the righteousness that Jesus is speaking of. He is speaking of righteousness before God the Father. He is speaking of what God says is right and the habitual practice of these things driven by a gratitude of grace. If culture stands in opposition to what God says is right, it does not change what God has said. The culture merely stands in opposition to God’s righteousness and that is an unpleasant place to stand.
A problem now rears its’ head. If the average human being living in our society is driven more by culture than by God’s righteousness as taught in Scripture, than this person is standing in opposition to God. Righteousness is directly related to Biblical understanding while living within a culture that is tossed back and forth in the waves of a sea of floating morality. This is the situation that Jesus is speaking about. When a Christian stands up for what God says is right in Scripture, and this Christian is persecuted because of that, there is a heavenly reward.
God’s commands are not subject to voter opinion. They are commands from an unfathomable deepness of power that is beyond contestation. The problem is that He does not shout them from the rooftops. He wrote them down for us to read, and if we find ourselves being tossed in this movable ocean of vacillating morality, we have only to search the Scripture for His truth. This week, I want to encourage you to think Scripturally and not culturally. Stop the ebb and flow of inconsistency and find your solace in guiding principles that were spoken by the mouth of God Himself. It is only then that we will be able to claim ownership of the Divine ideas that could allow us to be recipients of the gift of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us not be surprised if we are persecuted for these beliefs, because it is already here in our nation today. If they crucified Jesus, they will persecute us. So let it be.
Let us strengthen our resolve in times of adversity by strengthening our understanding of Scripture. Let us learn more and more about how Scripture should drive our lives and culture, and allow our lives and culture to have no say in Scripture.
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Matthew 5:10 – “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”