The Process of Conversion as seen in the
Sermon on the Mount — Matthew 5:2–12
Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
1. The nine, or ten, points of the sermon Jesus gave to His disciples very early on in His ministry has been interpreted as the ordinary means or process of conversion. Let’s see what we think. Each one begins with “Blessed.”
2. “The poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the meek,” and “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” — these expressions represent mental and emotional states that someone who under the oppression of sin, guilt, and shame, recognize their need of forgiveness and salvation. And all this due to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
3. This would correspond to the “calling” that we read of in Romans 8:30: “Those whom he predestined he also called…” Then is “justified” meaning born again or saved.
4. In verse seven we find the word “merciful,” who “shall receive mercy.” Here is a radical change, a conversion. Now instead of guilt and shame, a person has experienced mercy, and it must be the cleansing of sin by means of the shed blood of the crucified Messiah. Having received mercy, one can be merciful to others.
5. “The pure in heart” — here the “poor in spirit” has now a pure heart, and thus can be in a personal faith relationship with God.
6. This person who has now experienced forgiveness and enjoys peace with God becomes a peacemaker: this is indeed a radical conversion experience and is common for all in Christ.
7. Even those
who are now experiencing persecution are blessed since it makes evident that
theirs is the kingdom of heaven, the desired goal above all others. And in the
last verse, Jesus re-emphasizes the fact that for the blessed persecution is
coming, just like the prophets before them.