Character Leads To Conduct
Blogger Eric Echols recently discovered a connection between the beatitudes and the remainder of the chapter.
Jesus begins the sermon with the beatitudes – they show us who we are to be – our character and what’s on the inside. Then he lays out examples of how we are to live – our conduct, our lifestyle and our actions. In other words, who you are on the inside produces what you do on the outside.
After delivering the Beatitudes, Jesus uses the remainder of the passage to explain and give examples of living out the Beatitudes.
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus teaches us to be salt and light. He is teaching us to live in such a way that people will want the life you have. What better way to live as salt and light then to live a life that:
1) realizes that only the redemptive work of Christ can change your spiritual condition. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
2) understands that God comforts the broken and therefore live a life of repentance. Blessed are those who mourn.
3) is truly honest them about yourself and has a correct view of who they are. Blessed are those who are meek.
In Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus shows us that he came to fulfill the law. Jesus came to fulfill the promises of the Old Testament. He came to fulfill God’s plan of redemption. We know that true righteousness comes through Jesus fulfilling these promises. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus calls us to a higher standard when it comes to our attitude of anger and our intent to hurt someone. He calls us to extend God’s mercy to others. Blessed are those who are merciful.
In Matthew 5:27-37, Jesus calls us to live pure lives in our thoughts, actions, and words. Blessed are the pure in heart.
In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Finally, Jesus teaches us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:43-47. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.
He concludes with the admonition to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. This passage teaches us that to live a blessed life…a life pleasing to our heavenly father comes from character (the beatitudes) and flows out through our conduct (the rest of chapter 5).
This blog originally posted on the Dacula Patch on Aug. 19, 2012.