Hank Hanegraaff, the host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, continues working through the beatitudes. What is so cool about the beatitudes is that they mirror the Lord’s Prayer in that the first four petitions are focused on our relationship to God, while the next four have to do with our relationships to one another. It is sort of a pattern we find throughout Scripture. Think Ephesians. Neatly divided between doctrine and deeds. In the first three chapters, St. Paul expounds essential Christian doctrine; in the final three he applies these doctrines to everyday life. Theological rhetoric is typical of Paul’s letters and involves expounding doctrine as the basis for admonitions to change attitudes and behavior. This is precisely what Jesus is driving at in His fifth beatitude—a beatitude revolving around mercy: “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” In view of God’s mercy toward us—His kenosis, His suffering, His death—we too are to extend mercy, irrespective of whether or not those with whom we come into contact deserve it. For as we show mercy, so it will be shown unto us. Proverbs 11:17 tells us that “the merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.” The merciful forgive as they have been forgiven; the cruel and miserly do not. Our Lord speaks about this very matter in a parable recorded in Matthew 26:6–13. The story of two debtors. Showing mercy or extending mercy towards others is the roadmap toward receiving mercy from God.
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