How long has it been since you heard someone say “That doesn’t sound like Susie” or “That certainly couldn’t have been Sam involved in that!” These statements indicate that something wasn’t right or consistent with an individual’s past behavior and are much like the character Ebeneezer Scrooge in the classic “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge, who had been miserly throughout the entire story, was found to be entirely out of character at the end. He was a giving, kind and generous man to the point that most everyone were probably asking themselves, “That couldn’t have been Ebeneezer Scrooge, could it?”
Much of the same sentiments could have been said of Saul, in Acts chapter nine when he attempted to join with the Christians at Jerusalem shortly after his conversion. His reputation as one who persecuted the church with imprisonment and murder were well known and his attempts to join with the church now had him out of character. It just didn’t seem right.
Friend, character is defined by the pattern of behavior or the sum of the qualities or features that identify us. Christians are especially noted by clear characteristics and Jesus identified them in His sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter five. Jesus proclaimed earlier in His ministry that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and the message of the Sermon on the Mount presented much about those who would be members or subjects of that kingdom.
In the first twelve verses of Matthew chapter five we find that the subjects of the kingdom would be “blessed” and also be recipients of things as a result of their “character”. Being blessed means that they “are happy” or “are fortunate”. It seems that both cases would apply here. Fortunate to have found the grace of God, and having it extended to us as a result of our “character” would indeed make us very happy!
Copyright © 2002, Nolan P. Rutter