The Complete Christian

David Bast

Read: Matthew 5:1-12

When he sat down, his disciples came to him. (v. 2)

In Matthew 5-7, Jesus addressed his famous Sermon on the Mount to his disciples. But this is not the plan of salvation. Jesus’ point is not that we can qualify for heaven by keeping this new law he gives us. He’s not explaining how we can earn a relationship with him; he’s explaining how a relationship with him ought to be lived out in daily life.

Jesus begins his sermon by pronouncing eight blessings, known collectively as “The Beatitudes.” When he says, “Blessed are . . .” eight times over, what Jesus means is: “These are the attitudes and actions of the person who is pleasing to God, who is completely the person God means us to be.”

Jesus is not saying there are eight different traits, each of which can earn God’s approval. These Beatitudes are comprehensive. Every Christian must exhibit all of them. You can’t pick and choose, thinking, “Well, I’m not very meek, and as for peacemaking, let’s leave that for the pacifists. Maybe I’ll try to get God’s blessing by mourning.”

I once was watching my wife make a dress for one of our young daughters. First, she cut out the pattern pieces, which she then stitched together. The Beatitudes are something like that dress pattern. Each piece is useful by itself. But they all need to be stitched together into a single life to show what the complete Christian looks like. —David Bast

Prayer: Help my life match your complete pattern.