D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
Contrast with the world: The world does all it can to get away from mourning, but the gospel says, “Happy are those who mourn.”
This is a spiritual mourning, not a natural mourning as if for someone who has died. All the Beatitudes have reference to a spiritual condition and a spiritual attitude.
Sadly, spiritual mourning is not as much in evidence in today’s Church as it once was.
- One reason is because the Church is reacting against a false notion of puritanism.
- Another reason is that there is a current notion that in order to attract the lost we must put on a happy face.
- The ultimate reason is that we have a defective doctrine and conviction of sin and also a shallow view of joy.
- Therefore, there is little effective evangelism.
In light of all this, it is important to know what Jesus means when he says, “Happy are those who mourn.” Let’s look at the NT, and let’s start with Jesus first.
- We are created to be like Christ. What was Christ like? There is no record of Jesus laughing. There is anger, hunger and thirst, and weeping. He was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” There’s indication he looked much older than he was (Jn 8:57), but no assumed brightness and joviality.
- In Paul’s teaching, we find Paul’s recurrent experience of spiritual anguish in Rom 7:14ff., Rom 8:23, 2 Cor 5:1. He tells Timothy and Titus that the old men are to be sober, grave, and temperate, and the young men are to be sober minded. There is no glib joviality here.
What does it mean to mourn?
- It follows naturally from being poor in spirit. We see God and his holiness and the lives we are meant to live, and we see our helplessness in doing so, and we mourn.
- We also see our sins. As we examine our lives at the end of each day and see how far short we have fallen, we mourn, experiencing what Paul details in Rom 7.
- We also mourn the sins of others. That is what Jesus did as he approached Jerusalem (Lk 19).
- This mourning is the antithesis of the world which, as Jesus puts it, “laughs now.” Even in war, the world tries to be happy.
But we don’t stop there, lest our picture be incomplete. For mourning leads to true happiness. In what sense? Happy in a personal sense.
- At conversion: The one who mourns his sinfulness and hopelessness looks for a Savior and finds Christ, his perfect satisfaction. “That is the astounding thing about the Christian life. Your great sorrow leads to joy, and without the sorrow there is no joy.”
- Throughout the Christian life: mourning for personal sin and sinfulness throughout the Christian life leads rejoicing when eyes are lifted once again to Christ.
- The blessed hope: There is the joy of knowing there will be a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
What hope does the person have who doesn’t believe these things? Look at your world; read your newspaper. There’s no hope. You can’t bank on education or on the UN. All has been tried and has failed. Only the Christian man who mourns for his sins and is comforted experiences true joy, the joy of Christ now and the future blessed hope.
[My notes don't do the sermon justice. The book is a wonderful compilation of perhaps the best sermons preached on The Sermon on the Mount.]