Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3—NIV)

The part of the Lord’s “Sermon On The Mount” from verses 1 through 12 is often called “The Beatitudes.” Beatitude is a Latin term for blessed. The Greek word is more instructive, especially since the word blessed has fallen into disuse in our day.

The word Matthew uses is makarios, meaning happy, blessed, pronounced blessed. It pictures a state of blessedness, or to be counted happy. In Parkhurst’s Greek Lexicon there is further valuable instruction. He states that the word comes the combination of “not” and “fate, death.” Like the Hebrew idea of being “not cut off.” He further describes the sense of the term as “he who is not subject to fate, mortality, he that submits not to fate, immortal.”

You will notice that each major thought of the beatitudes begins with “blessed.” It is effectively a pronouncement of our Lord placing approval upon character qualities displayed by those who will endure great tribulation prior to the Millennium. These qualities will be observed in those tribulation believers who will be admitted into His earthly Kingdom at the end of the age.

These qualities stand out as character markers for the saints of all ages and therefore there is relevance to saints upon earth today. Live these principles as a necessary outworking of the Holy Spirit’s heart-work in you. These qualities will be like a perfume which lingers everywhere you serve your Lord.

The state of blessedness pronounced by our Lord upon saints of character is noteworthy. The trials described in the beatitudes are not such that they are to be pursued by the saint. Rather, they are used as circumstances which prove the mettle of the redeemed and in so doing demonstrate the truth of the declaration of blessedness.

Blessedness is not a euphoric, passing emotion. It is a descriptive term of longevity, immortality, and submission to the Almighty and His lovingkindness displayed in His will for His child. There is true blessedness in displaying divine character in the midst of difficulties yet having supreme confidence that God rules and overrules. There is no excuse for a Christian to be fatalistic, wishing for good luck, or living in a state of resignation. Trusting obedience is what our Lord notices, acknowledges and approves.