This past Sunday we talked about spiritual poverty and hungering for righteousness. We said that those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy, acknowledging that they have nothing of value to bring before the Holy God, are the ones who are near to Him, because they see things as they truly are. From there, we went on to say that those who have acknowledged their bankruptcy and tasted of God’s goodness will be hungry for more of Him. Put more plainly, those who truly know God will continually desire to be closer to Him and they will understand that the way that happens is to ask Him to change your heart, soul, and mind to more accurately reflect Jesus Christ, who is the image of how we were created to be. That way of thinking and being is a spectrum. No person can rightfully say, “I have completely understood my spiritual poverty and I am hungry only for righteousness.” What we can do is grow in our proclamation of these realities and be continually transformed, so that the longer we walk with Christ, the more we resemble Him. Where are you on this spectrum? Have you acknowledged your need for Him or are you clinging to something else? If you know you need Him, do you want more of Him or are you content with the little bit you have been shown?
The beatitudes, these encouragements to the spiritually minded, in Luke 6 and Matthew 5 are not only incisive, they are progressive. If you study them, you will see that Jesus is not saying one follower of His may be spiritually poor while another follower is hungry for righteousness. No, if you know you are poor, spiritually, you will turn that acknowledgment into a hunger for more of God. Knowing this, Jesus says that those who have this kind of hunger will be satisfied. He can say this because the only thing that will satisfy them is Him and He satisfies completely and there is always more of Him to have. You will never say, rightly, “I have enough of Christ, now I need something else.” All a follower of Jesus should ever say is, “The more I have of Him the more I want.”
That is true, so the progression continues. If you know you need Him and want more of Him, you will be sorrowful when you are distant from Him or see things that don’t acknowledge Him and His goodness. This truth leads Jesus to say in Luke 6:21b, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” and, “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep” in 6:26b. The progression that Jesus is drawing our attention to and the reality He is opening our eyes to is that those who are near to Him will mourn their distance and the distance of others from Him. Conversely, those who don’t see their distance from Him now and revel in their own self-assuredness will one day recognize their error.
Do you weep over your sin and the sin of others and do you mourn its devastating consequences? That is a key question we will tackle this Sunday. Are we serious enough and sorrowful enough over sin? God is graceful and we will always rest there, but I agree with John Stott when he wrote, “I fear that we evangelical Christians, by making much of grace, sometimes thereby make light of sin.” Our rebellion and the rebellion of others against God should weigh on us heavily, not to condemn us, but to give us a serious-minded affection for Christ and realization of His glorious grace. That’s where we will be this Sunday. I hope you prayerfully prepare to join your brothers and sisters in Christ in proclaiming the lostness of this world and the greatness of God to save many in it.
For the sake of His name,