Re-seeing the Kingdom of God: The Poor In Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

As Jesus begins His public ministry, it becomes undeniable that people want to listen to Him. As he begins his Sermon on the Mount, His longest recorded sermon, He starts with a blessing. This first lesson to his followers is what has become known as the Beatitudes. A “beatitude” is a “supreme blessedness”, so who does Jesus call blessed?

Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” While our minds might immediately jump to thinking of the economically poor, Jesus means something different here.

While many of us might not know what it is like to be economically poor, the reality is that without Christ, we are spiritually poor. Since sin entered the world, we have been separated from God and unable to make our way back to him.

Isaiah 64:6 expresses this sentiment well: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

When we come to terms with our sin, it should leave us poor in spirit. Oh that we could do enough to be close to God! Yet there is good–really the best–news for us sinners. When we “recognize [our] spiritual lack and utter need before God, [we] will inherit the kingdom of heaven. When we realize there is nothing we can do to accomplish salvation, we understand the truth of the gospel” (Daily Grace Co.).

Yes, our sin is too much for us to bear. Our good deeds will never get us “clean” enough to be justified in our own works, but God. God loved us so much that He sent His own Son to die on the cross for our justification. He loved us enough to make a way for us to enter the kingdom of God.

The gift of salvation is free to you and to me, as long as we are willing to recognize our brokenness and repent. When we acknowledge our spiritual lack, we are invited into the kingdom, and life with God. What a good gift indeed!

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