Does God bless the unjust as well as the just?
ESV - 45 So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
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Jesus spoke these words in connection with His commandment to His followers in Matthew 5:43-44 (immediately prior to the verse cited in the question) to love and pray for their enemies. The fact that God behaves in the manner spoken of by Jesus is a sign of His mercy toward all human beings (regardless of their morality), and is to be emulated by those who follow Him. However, that mercy is not given as a sign of God's approval of people regardless of their actions, but is intended (by the fact that it is imparted to those who do not deserve it) to highlight even more the unjust nature of their actions, and to bring them to a recognition of their need for repentance and change. (This same principle is applied in the exercising of non-violent resistance to unjust laws or practices.) (Also, every human being needs that mercy, since none of us -- if we are honest with ourselves -- can attain the perfect righteousness required by God through our own efforts, apart from faith in Christ.)
In the bible, the Holy Spirit, as the author of all scripture, uses the term "blessed" to refer to God's relationship with human beings, his creation. The bible shows us 2 types of blessings: 1) the general blessings that apply to all human beings as his creation, 2) the specific blessings that apply only to God's chosen people (Israel in the Old Testament, Christians in the New Testament). The general blessings of God are not based on human performance or our willingness to obey what God commands us. However, his specific blessings are very much dependant on our faith and obedience. When we put our faith in Jesus for our salvation we are blessed with the gift of eternal life. When we walk with the Holy Spirit we are blessed with the fruit of the Spirit displayed in our life. 1. General blessings to all human beings (some examples) God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good (Matt 5:45) God sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous (Matt 5:45) God gives talents and abilities to all people to enable them to be productive and prosper in life God gives knowledge to scientists to enable the discovery of cures for diseases which protect all people 2. Specific blessings to Christians (some examples) When we humbly accept Jesus as our Saviour we become citizens of Jesus kingdom and heaven is our home (Matt 5:3) When we mourn and confess our sin, we receive God's forgiveness and cleansing (Matt 5:4) When we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, we receive an inheritance in the new heaven and earth he will create (Matt 5:5) When we hunger and thirst to live a God-pleasing life, we are filled with the Holy Spirit (Matt 5:6) When we are merciful (kind and compassionate) to others, we will be showered with God's mercy every day (Matt 5:7) When our hearts are pure and holy, we will have a close personal relationship with God (Matt 5:8) When we seek peace in all our relationships, we will identified as part of God's family (Matt 5:9) When we are persecuted because we live a God-honouring life, we are affirmed by God as citizens of his eternal kingdom (Matt 10:10) God's general blessings apply to all human beings "For God so loved the world [all people] that he gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16). God's specific blessings apply only to Christians "that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). In the Old Testament, God demonstrates that he punishes evil (unjust) and blesses good (just). In Deuteronomy chapter 28 we get a vivid picture of the "Blessings for Obedience" and ""Curses for Disobedience". But with the coming of Jesus as the perfect Son of God and Saviour of the world, Jesus took all of God's curses upon himself, through his death on the cross, for every human being who ever lived (past, present and future). God has now ushered in a new kingdom filled with grace and mercy towards all people (Matt 18:14, 2 Pet 3:9), because he is not willing that any should perish. However, God has reserved a day for judgment when Jesus Christ comes again as the judge of all human beings. All evil and wickedness in every person's life, that is not covered by Jesus blood (through faith in his salvation), will be judged perfectly and punished for all eternity. See 2 Pet 3:3-13. But when Jesus comes again He will create a new heaven and earth, and all believers in him will have an inheritance in this new world for all eternity. What greater blessings could Christians have than to live forever in the paradise that God intended with his first creation in Genesis ch 1 and 2. See Is 65:17; Is 66:22, Rev 21:1-8).
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