The Life of the Blessed

| Tue, Sep 3, 2013 | Set 3 Week 36

Share | 0 Comments

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.—Matthew 5:3–6

Who are the blessed? “The poor in spirit.” “Those who mourn.” “The meek.” “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” And so on.

The hardest description for me to understand out of this list in the Beatitudes is the first, “the poor in spirit.” How can that be when Paul says Christ’s poverty made Christians rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)? But when you use the other descriptions to shine light on this one, the result is wonderfully illuminating.

In a word, I believe “the poor in spirit” refers to the humble or, maybe better, the humbled. In other words, when sinners come to see the richness of God—the One whose wealth is infinitely deep (Romans 11:33)—they realize how utterly poor they are apart from him. They see that they really are nothing in comparison to him—indeed, all the nations together, with the many individual sinners represented within those nations, are “accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:17). Therefore, again, such sinners are humbled.

Before trying to support this idea from this passage, consider Proverbs 16:19, “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” The righteous know that poverty of spirit with few goods is to be desired more than the great wealth of the arrogant. Again, seeing God for who he is puts all things—including riches—in perspective. God has a way of shattering man’s categories. And he is good to do so.

Now, to focus on the context in our passage. The humble “mourn” because of their sin in the presence of the God they imperfectly love. But on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, “they shall be comforted.”

Likewise, Christians are meek. In fact, in their humility, the meek “inherit the land” as those who “delight themselves in abundant peace” (Psalm 37:11). In other words, they so value harmony with others and harmony with God, that they are willing to be seen as low, abased, and meek. They are glad to be humbled.

Finally, the humble “hunger and thirst for righteousness” because such a life is pleasing to God. This is the positive way of saying that the humble mourn. When Christians sin, they mourn for the dishonor brought to God’s name on their account and they long for righteousness so that they may instead honor him.

So, use these verses to fight for strength. In the long struggle against the sinfulness of others and the wickedness of your own heart, embrace the poverty of your spirit, mourn for the God-belittling aspects of your life, walk and talk like the meek, and desire righteousness to the fullest. Such is the life of the blessed.


Leave a Reply