A Quick Look at the Beatitudes 

These aren’t rules that allow you to earn your way into Heaven, but spiritual descriptions of those who have already been given the gift of Heaven through grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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The Beatitudes are a wonderful part of Scripture (the beginning of Matthew 5) that chronicle who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus gives blessings to 8 different types of people (the poor (in spirit), those who mourn, those who are humble, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted. A lot of the time people take these “traits” and attribute them to theirselves in some type of flawed, work’s righteousness type of way. For instance, they will say things such as “I’m poor, so I know that God will bless me because he loves the poor,” (Not to say that God will not bless someone who’s poor, but this is no way to earn the blessing of salvation), or “I’m humble, so I know I’m going to Heaven” (as if Heaven could be earned by personal humility). I’ve written this to give a short explanation of the Beatitudes and what/who Jesus was referring to. 

“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

•Yes that is those who are poor in spirit and not just financially poor. God couldn’t care less about your social/economic status (in terms of salvation, as in he will not save you just because you are broke). What he cares about is the status of your heart. If you are rich in pride and boast of your “independence,” then you don’t need God forgiveness through Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven is not yours. (Revelation 3:17-18) 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
• This isn’t about people who are sad and are depressed, that comes with this broken world. This is about those who mourn over their own sin and the brokenness of this world and long for change through Jesus Christ. Those who seek after Jesus will be comforted and God will never fail them. Though they weep, their tears will not be in vain. (Revelation 21:4)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 

• That is those who are humble and see their need for God and not prideful in their character or sense of self-sufficiency. These people recognize that they are sinful and they need to be forgiven by God through Jesus. (Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

• This is a call for those who hunger and thirst for true righteousness. This isn’t just about social reform through political means/policies, etc. this is for those who want to be renewed and who want a new life. These are for the people who want to inner change and to be truly righteous in God’s sight and to be cleared of their guilt. This is for those who want to see God’s righteousness shine on earth, as well as be a part of that process. (Revelation 21:6)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

•These are the people who are not quick to condemn others for their sin, because they realize their own moral failings and need for Jesus. These people don’t want to condemn the world, but instead, they mirror Jesus in John 3:17 and want to help save it through the Gospel. 

(James 2:8-13, Matthew 7:1-2)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

• This is talking about those who have had their sins forgiven by God through trusting their spiritual well-being into the hands of Christ along with his life, death, burial, and resurrection, understanding that this is the only sufficient means by which their sins can be cleared (As no human being is “pure in heart” except children and those who have mental disabilities that restrict them from knowing right and wrong intuitively. Other than that all human beings are wicked and suffer from sin. Only Christ can save them and begin a new work in their hearts.) (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

• This verse is talking about those who make peace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not those who only want world peace or promote “good vibes.” This verse also discounts those who do social work and advocate for peaceful community/global relations. Without Christ, all these causes are (in the entire scheme of things) useless as the world is a fallen place and will remain to be so until Christ returns. Not to say that doing these things are good, they just won’t earn you a spot in Heaven. Only Christ can do that. Without him working with the world to make it a better place is tantamount to trying to clean up a muddy mess on the floor by trying to rearrange it. In the end, the floor is still filthy with mud. (Isaiah 52:7)

 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

• This is taking about those who will suffer for advocating for Christ and living for the glory of God in a sinful world. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” ‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭12:30‬) Truth is highly exclusive and as a Christian, all your life you will have people opposing you, your message, and your God. Sometimes this opposition will be violent and you may lose your life because of it. Jesus said that he sends us out as “sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). What this verse means is that though you face opposition in this life, you should not be afraid/consumed with fear because the Kingdom of Heaven is yours and no one, not death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (demons), nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, or government faction, nor nonbelievers, nor any other religious group will be able to take that away from you and the love of God will forever be lavished all over your life. (Romans 8:35-39) They can kills your body but they cannot kill your soul. (Matthew 10:28)

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

•Self explanatory, nuff said. 🙂 (Romans 8:18)

‭‭(The Beatitudes are from Matthew‬ ‭5:2-12‬ ESV)

From this, it can be seen that Jesus was referring to a Believer, someone who trusts fully in him. These aren’t rules that allow you to earn your way into Heaven, but spiritual descriptions of those who have already been given the gift of Heaven  through grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). These characteristics should also encase our lives and influence the way in which we both live and love. 

God bless you dear Reader and thank you for Reading. Sincerely,

Noah 🙂

The Uniqueness of Christian Salvation 

We don’t have to struggle reaching up to God because God reached down to us.

The Uniqueness of Christian Salvation “For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame… 

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans‬ ‭10:11, 13‬)

Are you sick of living your days scared of death and the afterlife? Are you stressed out wondering what will happen when you die? What if I told you that there was a way to have eternal life? What if I told you that there was hope? There is, and it’s through Jesus Christ. Contrary to other what other religions teach, this salvation is not dependent on you and what you do. This means that you don’t have to work to obtain this salvation. This salvation is not dependent on how hard you pray, how often you go to church, or do good things. When people think about going to Heaven, they often picture a set of scales. On one scale are all of your bad deeds, and on another scale are all of your good deeds. In order to get into Heaven, you would have to have enough good deeds to outweigh your bad deeds. It doesn’t seem that bad right? I mean most people don’t commit a lot of evil, so the average person should be able to go to Heaven right? Well… that’s not what the Bible teaches. This is what God has revealed to us in Scripture: 

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

‭‭(Revelation‬ ‭21:8‬)

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

‭‭(1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9-10‬)

If you’ll look, these categories describe the whole of humanity. This includes you. Think to yourself, how many times have you lied, or stolen, or practiced sexual immorality (this includes sins such as fornication -which is having sex outside of marriage- and masturbation which is just mentally dwelling on the thought of committing sexual immorality). This is what is known as sin. Sin is something that does not align with God’s standards for morality, which is good. In other words, sin is evil. To be as honest as I can with you, evil doesn’t commit itself. This may sound harsh, but I am being as honest as I can be. Sin is committed by you and these actions come from within your heart, which means that you yourself are evil. Now this doesn’t mean that you are Hitler. With the dominance of and the eagerness to commit sin in your life, this shows that you lead a life that goes against God’s design. In other words, you live your life in rebellion to God. 

The Bible says: 

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” (Romans‬ ‭8:5-7‬) 

What does this mean? This means that as human beings, rebellion (living a life of sin) is our natural desire. Now how did we get here? Well the reason that we are like this is because of the Fall. This event goes back to Genesis 3, in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Evil. You know, the story of Adam and Eve, the Forbidden fruit and the snake in the Garden? God had ordered Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree, however due to temptation (the snake, who was a disguised Satan, the accuser) disobeyed God and committed the first act of sin (showing the first instance of humans not wanting to obey God, but instead wanting to walk in their own way). This sin corrupted their original good nature and then was passed onto their descendants (us). So in retrospect, human nature is prone to sin and it is completely natural. 

Though we have a sin nature, thankfully, God has given us a conscience. The word “conscience” comes from the Latin word “conscientia” meaning “with (con) knowledge (scientia).” God has given us an innate knowledge of right and wrong that keeps every human being accountable for their actions. The problem is that because of sin, a lot of time, this conscience is ignored. The Bible says this about people, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” (Romans‬ ‭2:15‬) This Scripture says that people can know God’s Laws and design for morality without even knowing God. Now the question is, “Well what is God’s Law?” Well, the rudimentary answer is the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus chapter 20), which are: 

1. I am the Lord your God, thou shall not have other gods before me.

2. Thou shall not use the Lord’s name in vain.

3. Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.

4. Honor thy Mother and Father.

5. Thou shall not kill.

6. Thou shall not commit adultery.

7. Thou shall not steal.

8. Thou shall not bear false witness of thy neighbor.

9. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.

10. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

There are other Laws of course (such as the others on sexual immorality such as fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, etc.) but this is the root of God’s Law. What the Ten Commandments do is act as a mirror, to show us who we really are. Look over these Laws and ask yourself “I how many times have I broken these Laws?” What Jesus did in the New Testament was expound upon the spiritual nature of God’s Law. God even holds us accountable for contemplating/planning and thinking about how to or when we will commit these sins. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. This means that if you continue to commit these sins, you will perish when you die and go to Hell (a place of eternal rightful wrath and justice, where you will be separated from God’s goodness), because God is good and you are not and He must punish evil. This is why doing good deeds and “balancing the scale” can’t save you because God will give you justice for your evil and because He is good, He will not be bribed by good deeds. It’s not pleasant, but this is the truth. 

Now at this point you might be saying, “Well then how do you get to Heaven, if not by good works?” That is a good question. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John‬ ‭14:6) Around 2000 years ago, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to live a perfect life on our behalf, die a death that paid for our sins, and rise from the dead after three days, thereby defeating death on our behalf. He was God in the flesh, the “God incarnate.” Because Jesus did this, He made it able for humans to be saved from Hell. All you have to do is turn from your current lifestyle and trust in Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection and you will be saved. Not only will you be saved, but God will give you a new heart and new desires so that you will not want to do the same things any more. There will be temptation because no longer will you be one with darkness, but you will be fighting against the darkness, but this is normal and you will grow and mature and receive help from God and the Holy Spirit. You will never lose true faith, and you will never lose your salvation, because God saved you by His works and you didn’t save yourself by your own works. The Bible says: 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬) 

Instead you will persevere. Jesus said this: 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John‬ ‭6:35-40‬)

This fundamentally different from other religions because in Christianity, God saves you and you can’t save yourself. We don’t have to struggle reaching up to God because God reached down to us. God takes the impossible pressure of merited salvation of man, and takes care of it Himself. There are no “Eightfold paths,” or an “pillars,” or any necessary “prayers,” that you have to perform in order to go to Heaven. This is an invitation to experience the uniqueness of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ. The opportunity is here. 

God bless you dear Reader, and thank you for your time.

Sincerely, 

Noah 

Why He is Called the “Great Physician”

A tragedy that has befallen people is that they think that they are too sick and sinful for Christ to heal them and change them.

“And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”‭‭ (Luke 5:29-32)

In this passage, the Pharisees (the Jewish religious leaders at the time who were righteous according to man’s standards but not God’s) were criticizing Jesus because He was dining with people who were seen by society as despicable and unworthy. Tax collectors (though still hated today by some) were different back then. In those times, the tax collectors (who were also known as “publicans” at the time) were Jews that worked for the Romans and were used to collect taxes from their fellow Jews. They were seen as treacherous traitors and instruments of oppression. Then aside from the tax collectors that Jesus was dining with, there were the sinners. “Sinner” is a more general term that can refer to a myriad of things. This ranges from prostitutes, drunkards, those who have sex outside of marriage (and other purveyors of sexual immorality), liars, thieves, or anyone else who just didn’t measure up to the Pharisees’ man-made, religious expectations and standards. These people were marginalized by the Pharisees and were judged instead of poured into or helped. 

They questioned Jesus because, what self-respecting man of God would dare dwell with such societal filth? Jesus then replies with the famous, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Let’s do a small word study of a few words in Jesus’ iconic answer shall we? I’m going to focus on three words. These words are “well,” “sick‭‭,” and “repentance.” The Greek word here used for  “well” in the original is hugiainó (ὑγιαίνω). This word meant those who are “pure, sound. and uncorrupted.” The Greek word used here for sick in the original manuscript is “kakós” (κακῶς). This word translates to being “miserably ill/wrong/evil.” The Greek word for repentance is “metanoia” (μετάνοια). This word translates to “a change of mind.” So Jesus’ answer could also be translated as “Those who are uncorrupted, pure, and sound, don’t need help, but those who are miserably evil. I did not come to call those who are righteous, but sinners  to a change in mind.” 

With this perspective, we understand that Jesus’ healing power is unnecessary and useless to people who believe that they are “perfect” or “well off.” He came for those who are in need of change. He wants to save sinners, not pet those who believe that they are righteous when they are not (the great and prideful). “But aren’t these people also sinners?” You may ask, and the answer is yes, however, there is a fundamental difference. The difference lies in pride v.s. humility. God hates human pride. Scripture says that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Human pride seeks to 1up others in an attempt to put oneself on top and he revered by others at the bottom. Pharisees were full of this. Jesus told the Pharisees:

 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew‬ ‭23:27‬) 

On the outside the looked good because they did so many good religious works, however on the outside they were filled with death. Their insides stunk with religious formality, pride, and prejudice. Their hearts were hard with it! So though they measured up to man’s standards, they failed to meet up to God’s standards. There are many more examples of this being shown by Jesus (read Luke 18:9-14 whenever you get a chance), however, I’m going to segue into my main point. 

A tragedy that has befallen people is that they think that they are too sick and sinful for Christ to heal them and change them. In other words, a lot of people think that they are, simple, too screwed up to come to Jesus and be accepted by God. Because they don’t meet up to man’s standards, they assume that they cannot meet God’s standard for salvation. I often hear things such as “I need to get right before I come to Jesus” or “I’ve done too many bad things.” I just want you to know that whoever you are, you are never too screwed up to come to Jesus. That’s a lie. Christ offers a sanctuary– a home for the misfits, those misunderstood. 

He gives belonging for those who don’t fit well into society, those who are crushed by the pressures of living in this world, the marginalized, the hated, those who are spiritually poor, those who aren’t satisfied with what this world offers them, people who aren’t stable, the anxious, those who fear tomorrow and are oblivious of today, and those who are seeking a better tomorrow and that seek meaning beyond this side of reality that consists of death, decay, suffering, and evil. He offers a renewed life, a new heart with new desires, an infinite abundance of love that guides to truth (Him), and His mercies are new every morning. They don’t call Him the “Great Physician” for nothing. He heals the broken! You don’t clean up to come to Jesus, you come to Jesus to get cleaned up so that you can see God! 

It doesn’t matter what you have done in your life. The world may not forgive you, but Christ will. The world may not help you, but Christ will. The world cannot renew you, but Christ will. The world cannot save you, but Christ will. Don’t put off Jesus and His gift of reconciliation to God, eternal life, and a new earthly life because you fear that your sins are too great or for temporary pleasure. The point of Him dying on the cross was to save people. Perfect people don’t need saving, helpless people. God only helps those who can’t help themselves, those who understand their true circumstances. You may think that what you have is honor when you resist the Jesus and the Gospel, however, this is a form of pride and unbelief (a lack of faith). You believe that your sin is too great for God to handle and that you can handle yourself and that this makes you more righteous. No, this is not true but a lie. Jesus said this concerning the Kingdom of God and it’s people : 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭5:3-12‬)

Paul said this concerning the Church:

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”‭‭ (1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:26-31‬)

The qualification for receiving the salvation is not being morally perfect. Is you were perfect, then you wouldn’t need salvation. The Gospel was not made for morally perfect people because they don’t exist. Those who realize this, and understand that they fall short of God’s standard for moral perfection, but want to be reconciled are the ones who Jesus died for. These are the people that the Good News of God’s saving grace was made for. In order to receive salvation, all you have to do is seek to turn from the current lifestyle that’s holding you down and seek Jesus. Whoever truly comes to Him, He will “by no means cast out.” (John 6:37) Even the Pharisees could have been saved if they weren’t so full of pride that they resisted the Gospel. 
Thanks for reading dear Reader, God bless.

Sincerely, 

Noah