“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Matthew 5:4 MSG
The Message version on Matthew 5:4 begs the question, “What is most dear to me?” I brainstorm the different possibilities: family, friends, safety—all dear to me, all things I don’t want to lose. Yet, none fit as a hindrance to my relationship with God.
Another possibility enters my thoughts, sin. Sin separates me from God. But is my sin really dear to me? A resounding “no” echoes in my thoughts until I consider what our lives must look like to God.
We seek satisfaction and fulfillment from worldly pleasures and achievements instead of from God. Striving after temporary things instead of seeking God’s kingdom fills our life with idols. Bitterness, anger, envy, pride, and a number of other traits the Bible clearly labels as sinful reside in our hearts.
Perhaps sin is dearer to us than we care to admit.
The NKJV of Matthew 5:4 says; “Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” Matthew Henry explains, Jesus is talking about people “who live a life of repentance, who lament the corruption of their nature, and their many transgressions, and God’s withdrawing from them; and who, out of the regard to God’s honour, mourn also for the sins of others.”
We cannot mourn our sin when we hold it most dear. And no mourning means no repentance, which means no transformation of the heart.
Paul certainly understood this concept, telling the Corinthians:
“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10 NKJV)
With this in mind, we can understand Matthew 5:4 as; Blessed are those who repent, for a repentant heart gains much in the kingdom of God.
7 Benefits of a Repentant Heart
1. Our sins will be forgiven.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV)
2. We will be brought near to God.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10 ESV)
3. We will receive salvation.
“For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.’” (Isaiah 30:15 NASB)
4. We will receive eternal life.
“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3 ESV)
5. We will be comforted.
“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (NLT)
6. We will receive grace and mercy
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” (Joel 2:12-13 NKJV)
7. We will be refreshed by God
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” (Acts 3:19 NKJV)
Blessed are those who mourn indeed!
If we desire to be kingdom citizens, we must stop treating sin as a dear friend, and instead, lament over the fact it is in our life at all. So let’s live with a repentant heart and receive the many benefits waiting for us.