The first link in the chain of being a disciple of Christ confronts us with our deepest need: – I cannot save myself from sin.
I am a pauper without Christ (poor in spirit).
The “poverty of spirit” Tude then leads us to the next link in the chain:We need to have an attitude of “mourning.”
Does that mean, as a disciple of Christ, I am Eeyorish in my attitude everyday? Does it mean I am no fun to be around and I lack joy in my life? Does it mean that I act like someone close to me just died, at all times?
In the context of Matthew 5, just as “poverty of spirit” doesn’t refer to financial losses or woes, “mourning” doesn’t refer to grieving the death of someone. Bereavement is natural sorrow, but the word used here for “mourning” goes well beyond natural feelings. This word, “mourn,” speaks of the strongest kind of lamentation.
A true disciple of Christ mourns what He mourns!
What causes Jesus to mourn or weep?
When Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, it was not because of bereavement. Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He wept because of the suffering (death) sin had rendered on those He loved and because of the people’s blindness and UNBELIEF. (They were mourning as if there were no hope – John 11:31-35).
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, knowing many would reject Him. (Luke 19:41-44)
Jesus still weeps today over our unbelief. (Heb 5:7-8)
There are two categories of sin.
Sins of Commission
We commit sins of commission when God clearly tells us in His Word that something is sin but we choose to do it anyway. In other words, it is when I choose to do what I know I should not do (ACTION).
I commit (commission) sin when I choose to lie instead of telling the truth. (Lev 19:11)
When I choose to look lustfully at another person OTHER than my spouse. (Matt 5:28)
When I choose to engage in pre-marital sex with my boyfriend or girlfriend. ( I Cor 6:18-20)
When I choose to be cruel with my words or dwell on wrong thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)
The danger, however, is that we become fixated on sins of commission because they are external and are easily identified, thus missing the other, equally pernicious category of sin:
Sins of Omission
This is failing to do what God has commanded me to do. It is not doing what I know I should do (James 4:7) (INACTION).
Sins of omission are not always apparent to others.
I may choose to watch a TV show with sexual content even though the Holy Spirit is telling me not to. (Philippians 4:8)
I may choose not to obey my parents when they tell me I cannot go to a party.
When God asks me to act (i.e. teach a Sunday school class, help someone in need), I may refuse.
Sins of omission and sins of commission steal the powerful purpose God has for me as His child. They also cause God to grieve.
As His disciples, the things that cause God to grieve should also grieve us.
Two responses to sin.
Where we mourn not because we did wrong (violating God’s standard), but because we got caught.
This sorrow does not seek God’s help. Therefore, worldly sorrow over sin leads to death (i.e. Judas’ sorrow Matt 27:3-5).
Where we mourn because we realize our sin has violated God’s holiness, grieved the Holy Spirit, and broken our fellowship with Him and our relationship with others.
The mourning or sorrow Jesus is teaching about in Matthew 5:4 does not come to us naturally, but supernaturally, through the power of the Holy Spirit (i.e. David’s sorrow Psalm 32:1-5).
Godly sorrow over sin leads to GOD (Psalm 32:1).
The second attitude ( link in the chain), therefore, of a disciple of Christ is one of repentance or contrition (mourning).
Just as the “poverty of spirit” Tude extends beyond salvation, so too does Godly sorrow over sin. Sin grieves God whether it happens before or after salvation (Isaiah 59:1-2). Treating sin lightly demonstrates that we do not grasp the enormous cost Christ paid for our sins.
As His disciples, we must make it a priority to develop our attitude toward sin (James 4:7-17). Our grief or guilty conscience is a warning light on the dashboard of life. When it is flashing, something needs to be taken care of immediately or the situation will become critical!
Mourning leads to repentance. Repentance leads to forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to peace. Joy is restored. We are comforted!
The truth is, the closer we grow to God the more we will mourn over sin (Psalm 51:3-4). When we mourn over sin and its devastating effects, our hearts become tender. We hurt when others hurt; we become burdened for those lost in their sins and it spurs us on to DO something about it.
As His disciples, are we too dry-eyed?
When was the last time you found yourself face down on the floor before your God, weeping for your sins?
When was the last time you found yourself weeping over the sins of those around you? Do you have a “most wanted list” of loved ones you are weeping over for salvation?
As His disciple, I must mourn over my sin and the sins of others. I must fall to my knees seeking God’s grace. Then, I must get up and offer God’s grace to this fallen world.