The Outward Beatitudes: We Grieve Our Sin

As we look at the outward beatitudes, the second attitude is an inward examination of our heart that results in us moving outward. In Matthew 5 verse 4 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

It can be easy to read this verse and say this is a statement about God comforting those who are sad or going through a difficult time. But the mourning that Jesus is talking about is the mourning over our own sin. He is saying that those who recognize that they are depraved apart from God will grieve that depravity, they will grieve their sin. But the hope is they do not have to remain in that grief.

Romans 3:23 says “the wages of sin is death.” When we recognize that reality, we mourn. But then verse 23 continues, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The turning from our sin and placing our trust in Christ results in the forgiveness of our sin and the eternal comfort of life in Christ.

In the Psalms, King David gives us a raw and unfiltered look at true repentance and the comfort that comes when we turn from our sin. In Psalm 51 we have recorded for us a prayer written after David had been confronted by the prophet Nathan about having an affair with Bathsheba.

This prayer begins with David crying out “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

David is pleading before God because he knows he has acted wickedly before God. He has sinned before God. And now he is grieving that sin. The first step in repentance is recognizing our sin before God. It is through the grieving of our sin that we can turn from it and find forgiveness. In Psalm 32, David said, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!”

Repentance leads to forgiveness and forgiveness leads to joy.

But joy isn’t the only result of forgiveness. Repentance also leads to a desire to see others no longer living in sin. Later in Psalm 51, David says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” The one who has experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness also desires for others to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness. True repentance leads us outward. True repentance should lead us to live out the heart of the Father who desires all to know the forgiveness of their sins and experience eternal life through Christ.

And so when we come back to the beatitudes and the blessing that comes when we mourn over our sin, it is not only for our own comfort but for the comfort of others. John 3:16 tells us that there are people in this world who are perishing and they are perishing because sin condemns them to eternal separation from God.

And so the call of the Gospel in our lives is to enter into a world that is perishing so that they will know the eternal joy of having their sins forgiven. But too often we live unconcerned that others are perishing. And one of the reasons is we can live with a casual view of sin. And it begins when we have a casual view of our own sin.

The song “Hosanna” By Hillsong United is a prayer to God and it has these words:

“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours”

The idea behind our heart breaking for what breaks God’s heart is that we would grieve sin the same way it grieves God. When we grieve sin, it not only leads to our own repentance but it should lead to a desire to see others repent.

Maybe you have never thought about grieving other people’s sin. Too often we are quick to simply condemn other people’s sin. But may I encourage you to begin to ask God that your heart would break for what breaks His own heart. May I encourage you to ask God that He would give you such a love for the world, that you so grieve the world’s sin that it leads us, like David, to teach transgressors the ways of God that that they will turn from their sin.

May our mourning of our sin and other’s sin, lead to an outward life that sees other’s experience the eternal comfort of God.

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