Matthew 5:4 says: “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” The world would say: “Blessed are those that do not have to mourn.” Jesus was not speaking about those who moan or have self-pity. The world focuses on material possessions and power. If we don’t have these, we tend to moan and complain. But what was Jesus talking about when he said: “Blessed are they that mourn”?
The beatitudes are about character traits. It’s not about what you have in material possessions or power; it’s about who you are in your character. We must ask: “Why should we mourn? What should we be mourning about?” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh.” We know that Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, even knowing that Lazarus would be raised to life. Jesus wept over the thing that broke Martha and Mary’s heart, the death of their brother. We must ask ourselves: “Do we weep over the things that break the heart of Jesus?”
What would break the heart of Jesus? Certainly, it breaks His heart to see believers being deceived into sin. Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” It is easy to blame Satan for our sin, but even our own heart can deceive us. Our mourning should be not only for our own sin but for the sin of those for whom we are praying and for the sin of our nation. (Remember II Chronicles 7:14).
Paul tells us in II Corinthians 7:10 about the sorrow of the unbeliever: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” This verse tells us that there are two kinds of sorrow. A godly sorrow over sin leads to salvation. Worldly sorrow brings death because there is no change in the person’s attitude or actions. The person may have regret over his sin. He may sincerely want to change; but without salvation in Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, he cannot truly change. And even if he does change, i.e. the drug addict getting off of drugs, he is still doomed to eternal damnation because there has not been the change of heart that can only be brought by salvation in Jesus. He still has the “heart of stone” towards the things of God.
Worldly sorrow is remorse where the sinner loves the sin but hates himself for committing the sin. In godly sorrow, there is a repentance which not only leads to salvation but also to change. In mourning and repentance, we hate our sin in the same way that Jesus hates our sin. There is the desire to turn from that sin, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can turn from sin. Judas had remorse over his betrayal of Jesus, but he did not have true repentance. Peter also betrayed Jesus, but he wept bitterly and repented. Peter was restored to complete fellowship with Jesus.
David had the right idea about repentance. Psalm 51 is David’s confession of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. Verse 17 says: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.” David is saying that repentance is more than just sacrificing an animal for your sin; repentance is about having a broken and contrite heart about your sin. This is the sacrifice that God is really looking for. God wants us to be not only broken from our sin; He wants us to be broken over our sin. This is the idea of mourning.
Our verse says that those who mourn will be comforted. Comfort is much more than sympathy. The word “comfort” comes from “com” which means “with” and “fort” which denotes “strength.” David tells us this in Psalm 138:3 “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” To be comforted by the L-RD is to be strengthened in the L-RD in the depths of your soul.
How does God comfort us? In John 14:16-17 Jesus tells us: “And I pray to the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” The word for “comforter” is “paraclete.” This is the same word used in I John 2:1: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
The word “advocate” is also “paraclete.” A paraclete is “one who comes alongside.” The Holy Spirit comes alongside us as our Comforter (paraclete) to comfort us by strengthening our faith. When we sin after our salvation, Jesus is there as our Advocate (paraclete) to comfort and strengthen us that we would know that our sin is forgiven. We must back up from I John 2:1 and read I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we have confessed our sin, Jesus not only forgives our sin, but He is there to strengthen us that we might not continue in that sin. We are comforted to know that our sin is forgiven.
A paraclete is “one who comes alongside.” The Holy Spirit comes alongside us as our Comforter (paraclete) to comfort us by strengthening our faith. When we sin after our salvation, Jesus is there as our Advocate (paraclete) to comfort and strengthen us that we would know that our sin is forgiven. We must back up from I John 2:1 and read I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we have confessed our sin, Jesus not only forgives our sin, but He is there to strengthen us that we might not continue in that sin. We are comforted to know that our sin is forgiven.
We mourn not just to see what our sin does to us, but what our sin does to God. The Holy Spirit comes to convict us of our sin, but He also comes alongside to comfort us after we have repented. As our verse says: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Daniel read the scroll of Jeremiah and his heart was convicted for the sin of the Jews which had caused God to send them into captivity in Babylon. Daniel 9:2-3 tells of Daniel’s spirit of mourning for his Jewish people: “in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the L-RD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make a request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” His fasting sackcloth and ashes show us the spirit of mourning that Daniel had for the Jews. Daniel 9:4-19 is Daniel’s prayer to the L-RD. Please read and pray this same prayer for our nation of the United States.
Notes from Dr. Adrian Rogers Taught by Dr. Susie Stiles