|Vol. 16 No. 4 April 2014||
Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV).
A proper understanding will help us appreciate these wonderful teachings of Jesus. “The Beatitudes” are expressions of proper attitudes with the results. To possess these attitudes we must put them into action. Rewards are connected with the attitudes. “The Beatitudes” are attitudes a child of God must possess to be happy and pleasing to the Lord.
The Attitude: The Poor in Spirit
“Poor in spirit” has no reference to what a person has, but what he is. It is an attitude. He is dependent in spirit; that is, he realizes that he must depend on God for all of his spiritual needs. He knows that he cannot rely on self (Jeremiah 10:23). We might describe a person “who is poor in spirit” as one who is lowly in mind (Ephesians 4:2), humble in his actions (Luke 14:11), tender in his feelings (Isaiah 66:2) and respectful in approach (Matthew 6:9). A good example of “poor in spirit” is the tax collector of Luke 18:9-14. The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize their need for the Great Physician (Matthew 9:10-12).
The Reward: Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven
The kingdom with all its blessings is theirs. It means that they gain all the benefits that come by being citizens of heaven’s kingdom. The highest values of life belong to those who are “poor in spirit.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8 NKJV).
The Attitude: Blessed Are the Pure in Heart
The “heart” is regarded as being the seat of the intellect, the feeling and the will. Out of the heart comes all the issues and actions of life (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 5:18-19). An evil heart produces evil fruits; a good heart or pure heart produces good or pure fruit (Matthew 12:34-35; Proverbs 23:7). The Greek word for “pure” here means “clean, pure, free from corruption, sincere, genuine, blameless, innocent and guiltless.” The pure in heart are those who have pure, sincere, genuine or right motives. Those who “obey from the heart,” have a pure heart and comply with God's will (Romans 6:16-18).
Paul is a good example of one who always displayed this attitude (Acts 23:1). The Christian must have a pure heart. He must love God with the heart (Matthew 22:37), believe with the heart (Romans 10:10), honor God with the heart (1 Peter 3:15) and do God’s will from the heart (Ephesians 6:6).
The Reward: They Shall See God
There is no doubt that the pure in heart will see God in the literal sense at the Day of Judgment and throughout eternity. Yet, I do not think this is what Jesus here had in mind. In the literal sense, no man can “see” God now (John 1:18). To “see” means to possess, to enjoy, to experience, to receive the full benefits from. We often speak of someone seeing prosperity, good health, peace of mind and etc. In John 3:3 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In John 3:5 Jesus presented the same idea but said, “enter the kingdom of God.” To “see” and to “enter” are used interchangeably and mean the same thing. It is in this way I am convinced that the pure in heart shall see God. To see, possess enjoy, experience, enter into, gain the full benefit from God is the reward of the pure in heart. A reward that is fully realized by the children of God begins here and now.
The Attitude: Blessed Are the Peacemakers
There are many ways of being a peacemaker. One can make peace between himself and God. One can make peace between himself and family. One can make peace between himself and neighbors. One can make peace between himself and all he meets. One can make peace by helping others to obey God. One can make peace by serving as a go between of people having troubles. One can make peace by working for peace in the church.
All of these are probably included in this attitude. It seems to me that Jesus is emphasizing much more than peace among men and nations. When we consider the blessing that follows, the idea of the peacemaker most assuredly extends to the person who obeys the will of God. This will result in peace with self and with others. When a person obeys the Lord, he is bringing about peace at the highest. Being a Christian is the greatest ‘peace contribution’ anyone can make (Philippians 4:7).
The Christian and Peace
The Christian should pursue peace (2 Timothy 2:22). Furthermore, the Christian should live in peace (2 Corinthians 13:11). In addition, the Christian must follow after things that make for peace (Romans 14:19). Things that make for peace are found in 1 Peter 3:8-13. Two great examples of peacemakers are Jesus (Isaiah 9:6) and Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:1-4).
The Reward: They Shall Be Called the Children of God
Without question, to be called the child of God is the greatest privilege ever granted to mankind. As a child of God, God is our Father and Jesus is our elder brother. God's whole plan for saving man was purposed. Heaven has no richer gift than that of being a child of God.