(Synopsis of message preached at Ebenezer Fellowship on 17 October 2015)

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

The second beatitude may sound contradictory to the ignorant and undiscerning hearer. Mourning is usually associated with grief and sadness. How then can those who mourn be described as “super happy” (markarios)?

Now the mourning described in the beatitude is definitely not a physical weeping, otherwise all crying men will logically be regarded as blessed. However, we have many men who cry, but have never repented of their sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. As covered in the weekly last week, unbelievers, whether they are physically mourn-ing or not, will never be described as “blessed”. This is why Charismatic churches who weep so-called “worshippers” into a crying frenzy during emotionally charged services are barking up the wrong tree!

The second beatitude points us to a spiritual mourning. This flows naturally from the first beatitude – “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3). A true believer not only acknowledges his spiritual bankruptcy and total depravity, but will mourn over his sins and repent from them.

Herein is a word of caution. The Bible warns us of a false spiritual mourning that will result in condemnation. The best example of this is Judas Iscariot. When he realised the heinous nature of his sin, he mourned over his sin, but committed suicide instead of turning to Christ (c.f. Matt. 25:3-10). True spiritual mourning will result in a godly repentance that will lead the sinner to turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.

A right understanding of the beatitude will impact evangelism. Some peo-ple shunned from declaring the truth that all men are sinners. However, ifthe hearer does not acknowledge his spiritual bankruptcy and mourn over his sin, why then does he need a Saviour? This person will never be saved by such a fallacious presentation of the gospel. Any presentation of a gospel without a declaration that all men are sinners has no power.

In addition, all true Christians will continue to demonstrate this true spiritual mourning throughout their lives. The expression “they who mourn” is literally “the mourning”. The term “mourning” (penthountes) is written in the present tense, emphasising the habitual nature of the mourning. When true believers are confronted with their sin, they will repent and embrace truth and godliness. David was one saint who was quick to repent whenever he was confronted with his sin. Psalm 51 is an example of true spiritual mourning and repentance. When confronted with his grievous sin which he committed with Bathsheba, David wrote – “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” (Psalm 51:1-4)

The Corinthian Church is another example of true spiritual mourning. Having been rebuked by the Apostle Paul of their gross immorality and worldliness, the Corinthian Church wept over their sins and embraced the Scriptural teachings of Paul. Paul testified – “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in noth-ing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this self-same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

Sadly, there are certain churches today who teach that a person is free to do what he wants because all his sins – past, present and future, are forgiven by Christ. This results in an antinomian spirit. I know of a man who committed adultery who justified his sin by saying that all has been for-given by Christ. He then proceeded to divorce his wife and is brazenly serving in church as though all is well in his life. Such is the result of a fallacious and devilish teaching that contradicts the doctrines of Christ!

Let us also note that Christians are not only to mourn over their sins but also the sins of others. The Lord Jesus was recorded to mourn over the sins of Jerusalem in the Gospels (c.f. Matthew 23:37; Luke 23:38). The prophet Jeremiah also mourned over the sins of Jerusalem which caused the city to be destroyed by the Babylonians. Therefore, we must also be concerned with others who refuse to repent of their sin and are walking in a manner that is displeasing to God. If we do not witness the truth to sinners, then we are negligent in our duty as the light and salt of the world.

The beatitude ends by explaining why those who mourn spiritually are accounted to be “blessed”. Jesus tells us that such will be “comforted”. When we mourn over our sins, we realise that there is always forgiveness with Christ (1 John 1:9). He is our advocate and the propitiation of our sins (1 John 2:1-2). Moreover, Scripture declares that there will come a day where our salvation will be fully consummated. We will be with Christ in heaven, and He will wipe away all our tears, for there will be no more death, sorrow or pain (Revelation 21:4). What a balm to the souls of all the blessed!

Psalm 51:17 sums up the matter succinctly –

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart,
O God, thou wilt not despise.”

Are you therefore among those who mourn?

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew