August 30, 2009

The Beatitudes - A Progression of Faith

We started a study on the Beatitudes this morning in class which I'm thinking will last us a couple weeks. This morning we spent time discussing some background info on Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" and specifically the Beatitudes. For example, the word beatitude comes from the Latin word beatus meaning "blessed" or "happy". I also found it interesting that the book of Matthew lists 8 beatitudes while Luke mentions 4 (followed by 4 'woes'). I will drop a separate post on the 2 we focused on this morning,

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

but before I do that I wanted to share a thought I had...

...One of the commentators I looked at suggested that "poor in spirit" was the idea of realizing we are nothing without God (human depravity if you will) and that the "mourning" came from the feeling of regret and apology for our sins (I would label this one repentance). This got me thinking, is it possible that through the Beatitudes Jesus was laying out a progression of faith? He starts with being "poor in spirit" (sinful man), moves to those who "mourn" (seeking repentance), and then into what it looks like as someone begins to mature in his/her faith: "meekness"(willingness to submit to Christ's will), "hunger and thirst for righteousness"(study and spiritual disciplines), "merciful", and ultimately "pure in heart"(where one's desires become those of Christ's) which leads to being "peacemakers" and even "persecution"(as Paul says, "to live is Christ, to die is gain") for the cause of Christ.

Obviously I haven't spent a ton of time elaborating on this idea but what do you think, have we stumbled onto something?


Anonymous said...

I think my son recorded a bible study class on the Beatitudes' progression. Made a lot of sense to me. I could probably send you an MP3 file if you would like to hear it.

Matt Lipan said...

Anonymous: thanks for the read and suggestion.

i'd love to checkout that mp3 if you have it. may i ask who/what this recording is from?

feel free to email it to me if you have it, thanks for being willing to share it.

Michael said...

I think your suspicions are accurate. We're doing a singles Bible study on the Sermon on the mount and the same thing just popped out at me. I'd be interested in any resources you find.

Matt Lipan said...

Michael: thanks for the read and comment.

i hope your study is going well. i'd be interested in hearing any thoughts/resources you have on this "progression" idea as well.

i'm not sure if you noticed in one of the other comments on part 2 of the Beatitudes posts that Ben Simpson mentioned Dallas Willard's book "The Divine Conspiracy" as a resource. i haven't had a chance to read it yet so i'm not sure if he makes any mention of the "progression" idea that you and i are talking about.

we should touch base sometime to talk more about this, could be pretty cool.