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I want to propose the reverse of a Palindrome; a “Semordnilap” also known as a “Backronym”; “Volvogram”; “Heteropalindrome” or a, “Semi-Palindrome”! How’s that for a mouth full? Now that I have got your interest allow me to explain my thoughts in a very basic way.
Firstly: What is evil, or to put it another way; what is the opposite of evil? Good! Therefore, and conversely, the opposite of good is evil!
Secondly: What is the result of evil? Death and eternal damnation! What is the result of good? Eternal life!
Genesis 2:15-17 (NASB)
15Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Thirdly: Now that we have “Good and Evil” in mind, let me amplify it for you from the above Scripture in Genesis. If the consequence or result of “EVIL” is DEATH then it stands to reason that the consequence or result of “GOOD” would mean LIFE, will it not? Yes, obviously! Now, “Goodness”, according to Scripture, comes only through and from Jesus Christ and if Christ is the one who instils genuine goodness then that means eternal life for you and me because of His goodness and His justification that makes us righteous!
Conversely, according to Scripture, evil is the opposite of good and therefore, evil brings about eternal damnation. Now, here’s the thing; if the two – good and evil – are extreme opposites, then good, according to the Bible, means; going forward towards Heaven, and evil means; going backwards to hell! Am I making sense so far? Now, here is where it gets amazing and I think we have the English language to thank for this. If “Good” produces life, and which results in you being able to live eternally with God, and “Evil” produces death, which will separate a person from God and cause that person to experience eternal death and damnation, then the opposite or the backwards result of life or to live is death or eternal death. So, by simple definition, if I was to take the word, “LIVE” and spell it backwards, then you would be left with the word. “EVIL”! Interesting, is it not? The very opposite and backwards spelling of, “LIVE” is “EVIL”! Voilà! Now you have some food for thought!
Now, let’s get to Matthew 5:7-9.
Verse 7: “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
There are 5 points I would like to make about verse seven.
1) A Shift in Emphasis;
2) What does mercy mean;
3) Mercy requires you to act upon God’s Revelation;
4) Mercy means Loyalty to God’s New Covenant;
5) Mercy Means Loyalty to God.
I want you to notice that there is a definite shift in emphasis in this verse compared to the previous verses. The previous four verses dealt with sorrow for sin and repentance; spiritual inadequacy to fix one’s self; gentle restoration with godly strength, and making Christ the sole objective of your life by hungering and thirsting after His righteousness that comes from Him and Him alone. Therefore, we have been through the repentance stage and now we need to focus on; “What comes after this?” Verse 7 is moving from those who initially have come to Christ – like Newborn Babies – to those that are now in Christ and are now following after Him and learning from Him.
What is Mercy? Think about it for a moment? What does mercy mean to you? Many people think that the mercy of Christ lets you go Scott-Free in a sense, but is that really true? Imagine someone murders your family and you appear in court as a witness. Imagine the Judge is feeling very benevolent and merciful that day, and no matter how broken and torn you feel inside, the judge decides to let that murderer off Scott-Free without any repercussions or punishment? What would your immediate thoughts be? Would you perhaps think that it was a discriminatory move on the part of the judge? Would you perhaps think that the judge was high on drugs or something or perhaps that he is a madman and not suitable to be a judge?
Well, this is the thing that many Christians believe! Is there any truth in that type of thinking? Yes, indeed there is! They are partly right because Jesus did indeed come to die for the sins of the world in order to free those who are captive to sin and Isaiah 61 makes that perfectly clear. Unfortunately, that is where the buck stops for many people. They get a free pardon from Jesus and everything is now hunky-dory and then think that they can carry on with their lives any way they please and all they need to do is come back to the one – Jesus Christ – who offers mercy for sin every time without any repercussions. After all; God is love! Therefore, Christ becomes like a sort of “Vending Machine” because if you need quick forgiveness all you need to do is say a little prayer and, voilà, you’re forgiven! Can we honestly think that this is what mercy means in the eyes of God?
Verse 8: “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Again, there are 5 points I would also like to make about verse eight.
1.) Our attitudes are Crucial (Titus 1:10-16 )
2) Our Priorities are Crucial (Hebrews 12:14-17 cf. Psalm 24:4; 73:1)
3) Pure means Single-minded (Psalm 24:3-6)
4) Pure means focused on God (Psalm 73:25-28)
5) Pure means Cleansed (Hebrews 12:14)
I need to emphasise that being pure, many times, requires you and I to be single-minded; not broad-minded or even double-minded. Therefore, there are things that are going to come our way that we will have to say no to immediately and turn our backs on whatever evil it is even if it means that we are mocked by other Christians. Also, let me say that; these days a lot of persecution comes from within the church community and not the world! Unfortunate, is it not?
We also know that cleansing can only come through the blood of Jesus and furthermore, continual sanctification is an everyday occurrence and that can only come by having fellowship with Christ who gives us His Holy Spirit for sanctification on a daily basis.
Verse 9: “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
There are two points that I want to make about the above verse that we have just read. Both points are important but only one of the points I want to make is in view regarding verse Nine.
1) Peace with Men is Valuable; 2) Peace with God is Critical.
Even though it is true that peace with men is valuable and important (cf.Romans 12:9-13; 18), this is not what Matthew 5:9 is saying at all even though it is still the heart of God and His word.
The “Peacemakers” and the, “Peace” that Christ has in mind in this section has everything to do with the Gospel of Jesus – The Good News!
Isaiah 52:7 7How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!
Ephesians 2:12-19 (NASB)
12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
You see; it is only through the genuine Gospel of Christ that can bring peace between God and men. The Gospel is many times very gentle in its dealing with people, and then there are times when the Word of God is straight to the point and very harsh and that is the way it needs to be preached. People are often too scared about offending others, and then there are others that are very often offended by the harsh words of the Gospel. You need to understand that; even though Jesus was a “People’s Person”, He never once minced His words to try and dilute the Gospel.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)
13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
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Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)