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 gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
In a continued review of Christ’s Beatitudes, I’ll focus on a blessedness that is connected to vocabulary such as poor, mourn, gentle, hunger, and thirst. From a secular standpoint, linking such words is outright foolishness. How can any well-being be connected to deep humility? Even in cultural Christianity, blessedness comes through the projection of material gain, intellectual prowess, power, and status.
However, the Kingdom’s values are upside down from the temporal world in which we live. Consequently, blessings, as it relates to spiritual wellness, are of eternal significance. Kingdom values lead to holiness and eternal life.
Poverty of Spirit
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Messiah tells us that blessedness starts with being poor in spirit. Those who experience the God-given gift of understanding their brokenness will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. The realization that God’s mercy is our only hope is a truth that very few come to in a lifetime.
Christ also points to the comfort those who mourn will receive. Sinners who repent will enjoy the presence of Christ. A legitimate turning away from sin leads to salvation and eternal life (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Humility that recognizes spiritual bankruptcy is the exact opposite of human pride. Reliance on God can be described as a child-like faith the world does not understand. Comprehending Yahweh's holiness and our own sinfulness is a blessing that the world’s value system cannot measure.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Likewise, in a fallen world that places premiums on the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17) and self-exaltation, gentleness derived from God is only valued by those who are born again. Christ points to a disposition that only those with the indwelling Holy Spirit can appreciate. In turn, the fruit of the Spirit produces self-control, love, and patience, among other attributes (Galatians 5:22-23).
I am reminded of God’s longsuffering with men as He restrains Himself against sin. His common grace given to all those on earth is extraordinary. His gentleness with fallen creatures is astounding.
Furthermore, Christ’s obedience in going to the cross demonstrates a self-control that the world cannot possibly imagine. The Supreme Being of the universe resisted using His power against sinners as they mocked Him and crucified Him. This is the type of godly gentleness that followers can access through the Holy Spirit.
Hunger and Thirst
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Understanding that they have no righteousness of their own, believers will continually seek God’s righteousness (Philippians 3:8-10). This yearning is underpinned by the realization that they are broken and sinful. They will gain righteousness only through faith in Christ. Jesus tells us that saints who hunger and thirst for God’s standard will be satisfied. What they seek, they will find.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.