Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Matthew 5:4)
- Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit (Matthew 5:3)
- Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (Matthew 5:4)
- Blessed Are The Meek (Matthew 5:5)
- Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness (Matthew 5:6)
This series continues with a simple meditation on our next “Blessed” statement:
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4, ESV)
It’s a strange thing is it not? The word “blessed” is not something that we would often associate with a phrase like “those who mourn.” Mourning is painful. We naturally flee from pain. So how could any good come from it? Why is the Lord conferring favour upon the mourning? And how in the world will they be comforted? We’ll take a few moments to think about two different kinds of mourning and two different modes of comfort.
- Mourning over our own sin.
- Mourning over the conditions of a fallen, sin-stricken world.
Mourning over our own sin. We considered in the last article the tax collector of Luke 18:9-14. We linked that passage with the “poor in spirit” of our previous verse. Consider what that tax collector said:
‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
The tax collector acknowledged his sin. We see repentance here. This was unlike the Pharisee who spent time talking about all the wonderful things he had done and why he was such an upstanding guy. We read only one went back to his house justified. It was the tax collector. What we see here is not mere human sorrow but the activity of the Holy Spirit producing a godly sorrow as shown to us in 2 Corinthians:
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Cor 7:10, NKJV)
What is the comfort? Salvation. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15, ESV). That comfort is permanent:
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. (John 10:28-30, NKJV)
As believers that comfort can be disrupted. Not a removal of position but a disorientation. How? By our own sin. Grieving over our own sin is an indicator that we are saved. If I am truly saved, then it should bother me when I sin. If it doesn’t, and I claim that I’m a Christian, then that’s a terrifying thought. We must be discerning when someone waves the flag of Christ but lives a life contrary to His Person and Work. People find it uncomfortable to talk about. Often we throw out sayings like “You can’t judge me, only God can.” This is true. There is only one Judge and that is Christ. We are however called to discern. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matt 7:20, NKJV). The believer will mourn over his or her sin but that is to lead into confession. We read: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NKJV)
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
(Psalm 32:3-5, ESV)
Continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation. It is not the means but a result of salvation. We can be so thankful for a God who will clean the mud from our eyes when we mess up and restore that clarity and communion once again to it’s proper place. Sadly the Pharisees did not know what it was to mourn over their own sin. They thought they knew comfort, but truly they lacked most of all.
Mourning over the conditions of a fallen, sin-stricken world. The Christian should be the most sensitive to the hurt and pain that is witnessed in the world. We understand that sin is at the root of it and it should most definitely cause us to grieve. The death of a loved one, war, famine, poverty, or disunity in the local assembly are all a result of our world being infested and infected by sin. We read that:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Romans 5:12, ESV)
Death distorts and defiles every sphere that the image bearer knows here on earth. The Psalms are full of statements like “How long, O Lord?” and “Why, O Lord?” The Bible does not sugarcoat the pressure and pain that is experienced and witnessed by His people. It is not to be ignored. We’re not to be hermits who are ignorant. It should drive us to our knees in prayer.
So what is the comfort? Glorification. We know that we are not to “grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thes 4:13, ESV). Notice that the absence of mourning is not discussed. We will still grieve but it doesn’t stop there. It is different for the believer. It eventually moves into rejoicing. Why? Because we have hope. Not hope in anything we can do but hope in the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not hoping for, but hope because of. This kind of hope:
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrew 6:19-20, NASB)
Mourning and grieving will happen for the believer but we can rejoice because our Lord tells us that such are blessed. They will be comforted. We long for that day where:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4, ESV)