Beatitudes: Blessedness Meaning

I found this note on the Beatitudes in my NASB Study Bible enlightening.

Based on Matthew 5 (The Beatitudes)
The Beatitudes must be taken as a whole having as the basis the last phrase, v.11, “on account of Me.” The Lord said to his disciples, “blessed are you….on account of Me.” The word for “blessed” ismakarioi, which means to be characterized by the quality of God, “blessedness,” makariotes. When one is indwelt by God, and God’s nature is in him, he has the kingdom of God within him (Luke 17:21). “Blessed” also means to be fully satisfied. This satisfaction, however, is not due to the circumstances of life, nor the fulfillment of the conditions prescribed in these Beatitudes, but due to Christ’s indwelling. Therefore, it is wrong to translate makarioias “happy” because happy is connected with luck, hap from the verb “happen”. People can be happy because of favorable circumstances, but they can only be blessed because of Christ. Blessedness is that basic condition created by Christ’s indwelling in man’s heart which brings a fundamental satisfaction in the life of a believer.

Blessedness, however, is not static, but progressive. This progressiveness of blessedness depends upon the fulfillment of the conditions set down in these Beatitudes:

  1. “The poor in spirit…” (ptochos, 4434), here indicates the helpless person contrasted to penes (3993), which means “poor but able to help oneself.” The first step to blessedness is the realization of one’s spiritual helplessness, and thus the need for Christ.
  2. “Those who mourn…” hoi penthountes (3996), sorrow for one’s sins and the sins of others. It is the passive attitude…i.e. repentance.
  3. “Humble / Gentle / Meek…” Humbleness, (prautes 4240, and praos 4235, or praus 4239) which in this context means to become angry at sin. It is the active attitude of the Christian toward sin in combating it instead of a passive, indifferent attitude.
  4. “Those who hunger…” When one exercises active combativeness against sin, he hungers for a new filing of God’s righteousness (dikaiosune, 1343) which is the realization of God’s righful expectation of the believer. “Those who hunger…” in Greek is the present participle hoi peinontes, which is better rendered “the hungering one,” indicating constant and iterative satisfaction with God’s righteousness, expending the received energy and hungering anew over and over as with physical hunger.
  5. “Merciful…” The outward demonstration of the Christian character is shown in “mercifulness” (eleos, 1656). This is the missionary and altruistic attitude of the Christian in empathizing with the unbeliever and suffering with him the consequences of his sin and doing everything possible to relieve the tragic results. The difference between “grace” charis (5485) and eleos, is that the first affects the character of a person and changes it. Only God can effect grace but we are admonished to show mercy and be eleemones (1655), “merciful,” to alleviate the consequences of sin.
  6. “Pure in heart…” Purity of heart is not something that is achieved once and for all, but it is a continuous cleansing that the believer experiences as a result of the fulfillment of the previous conditions of blessedness.  The more pure a person is, the more clear his sight of God becomes(Mt 6:22-23).
  7. “Peacemakers…”  Peacemaking is not simply trying to stop the feuding between nations and people, but bringing the peace of God that the believer has experienced to his fellow human beings.
  8. Persecuted…” Being “persecuted for the sake of righteousness: causes a person to reach the highest rung of the satisfaction of blessedness.

When does this state of blessedness begin with the believer?  It is not something to be experienced in the afterlife as the Greeks believed, but it is something that begins the very moment that a person believes on Jesus Christ.  This is demonstrated by the fact that the promise concerning the kingdom of the heavens as in v. 3 and v. 10 is in the present tense while all the other promises are in the future.  The fruits of one’s obedience to the conditions for the blessedness begin here, but they are not all given here.  They will be given in their totality in the future, in heaven (v.12)

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One Response to “Beatitudes: Blessedness Meaning”

  1. Beatitudes: Beautiful Attitudes | Touching the King! Says:

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