Continuing our look at the kingdom of God from above, being lived out here on earth below, let’s review for a moment.
There is a kingdom in heaven, fully functioning under the reign and soverignity of Almighty God and His son, Jesus who is the King of Kings. This kingdom is of or from heaven, and is intended to be fully demonstrated here on earth by humans, who are living the values, principles, and “doms” (see part 1) of our King Jesus.
We get a glimpse of this kingdom when we look at the “Beattitudes” of Jesus, as found in Matthew chapter 5. These beattitudes reflect the nature of life in the kingdom of God which is evidenced by the supreme state of well-being when walking in relationship with God.
So, as we look at the last four beattitudes (there are 8, see the first 4 in part 1), imagine life here on earth, if these characteristics were to be truly demonstrated. What a world we would have, here below, if we lived as it is above in heaven.
Blessed are the merciful, they shall receive mercy.”Matthew 5:7 ESV
Those who, from their deepest heart are able to demonstrate tender mercy to others, themselves will be shown mercy by God. This pictures someone, who “from their womb” – the birthplace of new life, new ideas, new ways – expresses and displays compassion and mercy to others. This one, because of what he or she sows, will not only be satisfied but will reap back the same compassion and mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”Matthew 5:8 ESV
The “pure in heart” is one who pursues purity and uprightness; that which is right, true, just, and pure in God’s eyes. They are not soiled or sullied by the filthiness of worldly affects and actions but “have kept themselves” from such influences. They have chosen a better way, a higher standard. They have set themselves apart to God and for His pleasure and have aimed at his favor and acceptance rather than that of man.
It is no wonder then, that they are the ones who not only see God now but progressively see Him more and more. Because their hearts are pure before God (and that does not mean sinless!), which is the most important thing (not external traditions), God honors them by revealing Himself to them. There is NO GREATER HONOR OR HUMBLING STATE for a humnan being than to experience God. That is beyond a blessing!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”Matthew 5:9 ESV
These peacemakers start within themselves. They are at peace with themselves before Almighty God. You cannot be at peace within yourself, if there is no accountability to God. Those who try to find peace without God awareness, sensitivity and willingness to follow His ways are only fooling themselves. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and brings peace to those willing to make peace with Him. That is where peacemaking begins. Then peacemaking will flow from the personal peace that we have found with God out from us to the community. This peace then, is both personal and communal.
These peacemaking folks, are the sons of God. These peacemakers, defined by their peace with God, are adding to and expanding God’s eternal family, as His sons and daughters, by bringing peace to others and making peace between others.
Are you able to see and image a world ruled and governed by these attitudes, characteristics and values? Can you imagine earth here below, under the influence of the kingdom of God?
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 5:10 ESV
Could it be that those who are living by these kingdom values will be persecuted? Could the challenge be to those believers who have chosen to live as citizens of God’s kingdom and under his constitution, it’s time to buckle up. Not everyone is gonna like these values, ideas and ways of life. There will be those who not only contradict these values but persecute those who live by them.
“Persecuted” here in the Greek means, “to harass, trouble, molest; to make one run, drive away, maltreated.” The Apostle Paul was persecuted. All the other disciples were pesecuted. Jesus himself was persecuted. Christians through the ages on every continent have been persecuted. Why, oh why, would we think we are any different or walk a different walk? How could we if we are truly living for the kingdom here on earth?
Compared to the suffering saints and martyrs of the past, I tend to think we, ourselves ain’t seen nothing yet!
Our comfort? Our motivation? Our strength? The kingdom of God! We receive eternally and live forever in the kingdom of God. The very one we have lived here on earth. We step from this earth into the kingdom of our inheritance, the one of God’s vast domain.
In closing, let’s remember these things about these beattitudes: (we mentioned them in part 1)
- they are a code of ethics for disciples & standard of conduct for all believers
- they contrast kingdom values with worldly values (eternal vrs. temporary)
- they contrast superficial faith (of the Pharisees) with the real faith that Jesus wants
- they show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in His new kingdom (1)
My prayer is that believers all over the world continue to stand strong in faith and courage as they choose to display on earth what is being lived out in heaven now.
May we, live here below as it is above.
- Life Application Study Bible – Zondervan