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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Christian Obedience JULY 2


And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 5:2.

It might be expected that Christ would call blessed those who have everything; those who are superior in talents and virtues, those with great abilities, those who are attractive and have fine personalities. We do that. We say that this person is blessed with this gift or that capacity. That is how we use the word. But Jesus does not use it that way. The blessed are those who need everything and receive everything from Him.

Christ found us poor and made us rich. He makes us the light of the world because He is Our Light. The blessed do not make themselves light, truth, loving, patient, righteous. He also makes us the salt of the earth. We do not make ourselves that. In being made all this by Christ, we give praise to our Father in heaven.

Immediately following the praise of those who have nothing in themselves, Christ proceeds to show that such people must also take the law of God seriously. This seems so incongruous. Why emphasize obedience to the law, the jots and the tittles? How could this be a blessing? By the acknowledgment that in ourselves we are nothing and can do nothing. Totally dependent on Him, we have discovered the only way to obey the law of God.

Christ explains this further by a series of contrasts between the way the Pharisees read and kept the law and the way the Christian keeps it. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, . . . but I say unto you." The Pharisees were motivated by the law. The Christian is motivated by love for Christ

Jesus never credits His followers with the ability to obey the commandments. He knows we cannot do that. Jesus proclaims the bankruptcy of man to produce this kind of obedience that God requires. Jesus is not imposing a new set of rules on His followers.

But we are blessed because He has entered into our lives with resurrection life and power. In Christ, God has given us everything, including the power to keep His commandments. This is our blessedness.

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