I love how in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1 – 7:29) Jesus gives us the Beatitudes first! Christ gives us the promises of God saying you and I, as Christians, ARE blessed before He gets into telling us how we should respond in faith to these promises. We are not blessed because of anything we did or can do. The Beatitudes are not things we are to strive for in order to obtain the blessings. They are not a “todo list” we are to check off each day. They are promises in Christ to us as believers.
We have such a tendency to look at the Sermon on the Mount and turn the entire sermon into a list of do’s and don’ts. For example: “If I’m really meek I will inherit the earth” or “If I mourn I will be comforted”, etc. We place thoughts like these right along side “I need to try and be salt and light.” This only proves that we love the law. We run back to it every chance we get. We love the imperatives (commands) more than we love the indicatives (statements of fact). This is one reason we have such a hard time, in our Western culture, resting in Christ. We even take His statements and promise of blessing, that he accomplished for us, and turn them into things we must do or strive to earn! Jesus says: “You ARE blessed” and “You ARE salt and light” because of Him.
Yes, we are supposed to strive for obedience to His commands (Eph 4:1). But, that obedience comes from a heart of gratitude knowing that no matter how horrid our performance… we are blessed, loved, forgiven, accepted. All of this is because of Christ’s work on our behalf! Don’t ignore the fact that even on your best day, when you’re obeying like a champ, you still fall infinitely short of His standard of perfection. That’s good news! Christian, rest in the fact that Christ obeyed FOR you. So, live a life that is pleasing to Him in the strength of the Holy Spirit and rest in the fact that your acceptance has nothing to do with your performance!