The Christian Counter Culture (Part 2)
Happy are Those Who Mourn
Truth Taught- Happy are those who mourn over their sin because they will experience God’s comfort.
Last time we learned that we are blessed and/or happy when we are poor in spirit. We also learned that to be poor in spirit is to be very aware that spiritually we are bankrupt before God. When we go to God through Jesus by faith realizing that we have no good thing within us we will not be disappointed. As the tax collector went down to his house justified, so too God will justify those who come to Him poor in spirit by faith through Jesus.
Jesus’ next focus is mourning. He says to His followers blessed are those who mourn. This is another paradox isn’t it? How can happiness and grief walk together? How can one be happy and mourn at the same time? Mourners are to be pitied and helped not envied. Jesus, however, teaches us that there is some mourning that turns into a great blessing and great happiness.
Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV)
5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:4 (ESV)
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
To mourn is to express grief or sorrow over a great loss. This verse rightfully follows the first Beatitude. The first was to realize our spiritual poverty before God. The second Beatitude is the right emotional response to sin and being spiritually destitute. So, what kind of sorrow can it be which brings the joy and happiness of Christ’ blessing to those who experience it? To mourn and grieve is the emotional response to a loss of some kind. When we realize the blackness of our sin we mourn because we understand that we have lost our innocence and we have no power to get it back. We have lost something and we have offended God.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn
The mourning that Jesus is speaking of here is personal mourning over personal sin. It’s NOT mourning over the fact that you got caught in some sin and the consequences are bringing you grief. It’s mourning over sin because you have been awakened to the reality of sin’s blackness and evil and its offensiveness to our holy God. You have been made aware of how God sees sin and your heart breaks and sadness comes because sin is seen clearly. It’s as if the blinders have been removed and you see the how horrible sin truly is. You are no longer sugar coating sin or acting like it’s no big deal. There is no more talking your way out of it. No more blaming others or even blaming God for it. You’re past excuses and watered down justification of it. When we see sin and its reality we mourn over it and even weep over it. This is where God wants us to be, beloved.
Paul understood this reality…
Romans 7:21–25 (ESV)
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
In these verses we have before us the passionate cry for God to come to Paul’s aid. He desires purity but cannot achieve it. He desires to be free from the wages of sin and the blackness of sin. He wants to come to God without this dead man hanging around his neck. Paul sees things clearly and is a realist here.
Mourning is the right emotional response to sin.
Ezekiel 9:4 (ESV)
4 And the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”
The Psalmist wept because of sin…
Psalm 119:136 (ESV)
136 My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.
1 Corinthians 5:1–2 (ESV)
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
Mourning and weeping is the right emotional response to sin. This is the Godly grief Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 7:10…
2 Corinthians 7:9–10 (ESV)
9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Are we grieving over our sin? Godly sorrow over sin will produce true repentance. Worldly sorrow produces death. Worldly sorrow is the loss that getting caught brings. Godly sorrow comes about as we understand that our sins are extremely black and are an offence to our holy God.
I remember it took me an entire summer to read through the life and diary of David Brainard. It was amazing to watch someone so committed and passionate about Christ that he would endure so much sickness and suffering to bring the Gospel to the American Indians in the early 1800’s. In one of his entries he writes…
In my morning devotions my soul was exceedingly melted, and bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness.—Brainard
What was it that made Brainard, Paul and David in the Psalms see their sin for what it truly was? Here is Jesus’ paradox unfolded for us. The more we are in His presence; the more we walk with Christ and love Him and pray and read our Bibles the more we will loathe our sin.
This is why so many today fill their lives with so much business and distractions so that they won’t have time to truly see the reality of their sin. Lost people do this. They run and chase after so many things going from one thing to another from the time they wake up till the time they go to bed so that there is not any time to pause and consider even for a few minutes that there is something desperately wrong with their lives. They are so busy with things there is not time to consider the deadness of their souls. Beloved, we too can do the same thing. We can become so busy that we loose sight of the fact that there are more important things than what we spend our time doing. All this is a fallen man’s response to mourning over sin.
Our world does not like mourning. We would rather laugh ourselves to death than mourn over sin.
Notice in Luke’s Gospel what Jesus tells us…
Luke 6:25 (ESV)
25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
Jesus tells us that there are times when laughing is extremely inappropriate. It seems, however, in America all people want to do is laugh, make jokes, and chuckle their way through what should bring them sorrow and sadness. Perverted topics make up comedy shows. Our world laughs uncontrollably over the very things God would have us weep over.
As Christians we should be very happy people and at the same time there should be, as Jesus teaches us, a deep sorrow and mourning over our sin.
There is, then, sort of an ongoing sadness in the Christian life, isn’t there? And the longer you’re a Christian, the sadder you are over your sin. And what makes you sadder than you used to be is you keep assuming that you ought to grow out of this. There’s a place in life for fun and laughter there’s a place in life for joy, and the Lord wants us to rejoice, all of that. But there’s always that nagging reality in the life of a true Christian, that deep-felt grief and sorrow over sin until it is repented of.
James, in just very straightforward words, says, “Draw near to God,” James 4:8, “and He’ll draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded, be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.” Wow. Time to stop laughing, time to turn off the frivolity and foolishness and stupid silliness of the world and take a serious look.
We distract ourselves with business and silliness and both are engineered to take our minds off of the more serious matters in life. We consume ourselves with trivial at the expense of the most important.
If your sin doesn’t cause you deep sorrow there is something wrong somewhere.
We will only see sin for what it really is when we see the holiness of God. When we see through the Word, the true purity of God we will be moved to see ourselves accurately and our sin for what it really is.
The Prophet Isaiah is a great example of one who gazed on the glory of the Lord and then was immediately shown his own sinfulness. His response was to mourn and weep over his sin.
Isaiah 6:1–5 (ESV)
6 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
He saw an accurate vision of the Lord then saw himself and his sin accurately. A low view of God will never produce mourning over personal sin. The reason is because if we can make God more like us then we have no reason to mourn and repent over sin because as we perceive things our sin isn’t all that bad. Isaiah got a clear view of God and of himself and his response was woe is me, I am undone.
From Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion…
On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also – He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white.
The closer you stand to God the blacker your sin looks and the stark contrast will cause true mourning. This is exactly the place we need to be if we are going to also experience the happiness God has for us as His people.
for they shall be comforted.
When the sinner comes to the place of recognizing spiritual bankruptcy, when the sinner comes to the place of grief, deep grief, deep sorrow over sin, and comes before God in penitence and asks for mercy and grace, he receives the comfort of forgiveness – the comfort of forgiveness.
A true picture of our sin produces mourning which leads to godly sorrow and repentance. Then we seek God’s forgiveness and then find comfort in that forgiveness.
What is the result of this kind of sorrow, this kind of mourning? What does it produce? Well, let’s go back to our text and see. Jesus said, “If you mourn in this manner, you will be comforted.” Mourners are not happy because they mourn, they’re happy because their mourning is comforted. There’s no happiness in the sorrow of the world. Follow this carefully. They mourn, they mourn, they mourn, they mourn but there’s never any real comfort because the comfort we’re talking about here, beloved, is forgiveness – forgiveness.
That is the most comforting thing to me, isn’t it to you? To come out of the presence of the Lord, having confessed your sin, and to know there is full and complete forgiveness. And I might add for your instruction in verse 4 that the Greek text would read this way, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they alone” – or only they – “shall be comforted.” The emphatic use here of the pronoun to emphasize they’re the only ones who will be comforted. Only those who mourn over sin know true forgiveness.
And I’ll tell you, the most comforting reality of all realities is that all your sins are forgiven in Christ, right? And that there’s nothing between you and God and you’re free to enjoy the fullness of His blessing.
The litmus test for whether you are close to God or far away from Him is are you mourning because of your personal sin? If you are not sorrowful because of your sin you have drifted far from God or you may not even know Him as Savior.
As Christians watch using things to shield yourself from the reality of the blackness of sin.
Ask God to show you the reality of your sin…mourn and grieve and then repent. You will be blessed as God comforts you.
Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary
A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles
A Gospel of Matthew by France
Matthew by Craig Bloomberg
Matthew by Doriani
Matthew by Charles Price
Matthew by Leon Morris
Blue Letter Bible
 2.Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of sel,f John Calvin