Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm Poor and Happy About It

In short, what follows is a post which is also a Bible study; if you have no love of Scripture, just pass on by, friend. If the topic interests you, I encourage you to open your Bible and follow along.

The Poor In Spirit
Matthew 5:3
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The Beatitudes, among the most beloved teachings of Christ, are where He describes the character and attributes of those who have a part in His Kingdom and family.
What does it mean to be ‘poor in spirit’?
My (MacArthur) study bible notes that someone who is ‘poor in spirit’ recognizes his or her sinfulness, knows that because of that sin they are ‘spiritually bankrupt’, having no inherent goodness to commend themselves to God. To be poor in spirit is to be humbled, recognizing the need for Salvation.
By contrast, those ‘rich in spirit’ would be like the Pharisees who were so certain that their good works and law keeping were pleasing to God and were their ticket to Heaven.
As Jesus said of the hypocrites who made a showing of glorified piety, “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. Matthew 6:2b
We can find many examples of ‘poor in spirit’ Godly people throughout Scripture; here are just a few:

David-after Nathan the prophet confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba, wrote:
1    Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;     According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity     And cleanse me from my sin.

    For I know my transgressions,     And my sin is ever before me.
4    Against You, You only, I have sinned     And done what is evil in Your sight,     So that You £are justified when You speak     And blameless when You judge.” Psalm 51:1-4
We can read of David’s sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah in 2 Samuel chapter 11.

Another man who recognized his spiritual poverty is Isaiah.
In Isaiah chapter 6, when Isaiah has his vision of being in the presence of Holy God, he cries out:
“Then I said ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined!     Because I am a man of unclean lips,     And I live among a people of unclean lips;     For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’”
Isaiah 6:5
Just are we are poor in spirit, depending on the Grace of God to make us right with Him, when Isaiah spiritually poor, God extended His Grace:
6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 
7He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” Isaiah 6:6-7
I’ve always wondered why the angel used tongs to take the coal from the altar. Was that altar so Holy that even an angel could not touch it with his hand? But he held the coal when he touched it to Isaiah’s lips. I guess we’ll find out when we get there.
Here are some examples of people who were poor in spirit who would become rich in Christ-
A tax collector: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’. Luke 18:13 (from a parable, but representing a repentant soul begging for mercy)
A centurion: “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof” Matthew 8:8
Peter: “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8
One more example which might not come immediately to mind regarding the poor in spirit whom Christ gathers into His Kingdom-we do not know his name, but we will meet him in Glory:
41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.
42And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 
43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:41-43
So shall all the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

1 comment:

Doug said...

The Beatitudes are where Jesus describes those in His Kingdom. This study may include the other Beatitudes, depending on a few factors.
May God richly Bless you today.