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By Carl G Vaught

A theological try to discover the various ways that perfection should be accomplished.

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The Sermon on the Mount: A Theological Investigation, Revised Edition

A theological try and discover many of the ways that perfection may be accomplished.

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This occurs when peacemaking, having endured persecution, points to a new order that can be present here and now. We make initial access to God’s kingdom by admitting that we are empty and bankrupt. Yet when through peacemaking and persecution we embody the reconciling act of God in acts of our own, the kingdom that lies beyond begins to manifest itself within the human realm. These reflections finally bring us to verses eleven and twelve, where Jesus says: 34 The Sermon on the Mount Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of Me.

Jesus wishes to bestow divine happiness upon his followers, but as the first Beatitude suggests, happiness becomes accessible only if we renounce the kind of righteousness that results from human achievement. ” In considering the relation between the first and the fourth Beatitude, it is important to notice how the fourth Beatitude dynamizes the first one. The first Beatitude says that the pathway to God’s kingdom can be found only by acknowledging one’s bankrupt condition. ” There is an element of passivity involved when we acknowledge our spiritual poverty and become willing to embrace the divine happiness that can be received simply as a gift.

The aorist tense suggests that this can occur at a particular moment, and that when it does, one can become insipid very quickly. Yet the subjunctive mood reminds us that whether this occurs or not depends upon us, and that as a result, we have a choice to make in the matter. ” And the result in this case is that trampling will replace persecution and that it will do so because we are no longer worth anything. When the followers of Christ lose their savoring quality, the result is tastelessness; and when this occurs, we are no longer persecuted and insulted, but are cast out to the side of the road.

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