I’ve always loved reading the beatitudes passage since it reminds me of the blessings God bestows upon those who seek and follow after Him. Although, while working through my study of the passage I found myself greatly convicted of how my life can drift far from the characteristics in this passage. Throughout my study it’s provided me with the opportunity to refocus and repent of areas where I have fallen short.
With each of the beatitudes, it links and builds upon the previous truth. I’ll list out the three different sections of the beatitudes passage. This will allow us to gain a better understanding of their purpose and composition.
- 1st section: The condition of our heart
- 2nd section: Our relationship with God
- 3rd section: Our relationships with others
Let’s begin and jump into Matthew 5, where we can find the beatitudes listed. Let’s take a look at the first of the eight beatitudes.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Here in this passage, “Blessed” refers to a permanent state of happiness, and isn’t just a fleeting happy feeling that can be given or felt. “Blessed” can also be translated from the Greek word makarios which means “happy” , “rich” or “making long His benefits.” The blessings God promises to us through this passage aren’t just a fleeting act of grace, but rather an eternal, long-lasting blessing that will endure through time.
“Poor” as it is used here isn’t a term relating to us being financially destitute, but rather a spiritual depravity that we can only find through Jesus’s death on the cross to cover the cost for all our sins so we could enter into heaven. It can be referred to as becoming humble and realizing our need for a Savior. This kind of humility isn’t a false humility or self-depreciating attitude, but rather recognizing our shortcomings and admitting our need for forgiveness. This is a state of realizing our sin and poverty and our need for God to satisfy us. We can admit our shortcomings and humble ourselves, knowing Jesus has paid the price for us to enter into Heaven.
In James 4:6 we’re reminded that God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. God doesn’t admire someone who has a prideful heart and isn’t willing to submit and surrender their life. We all are unworthy of heaven and are in need of a Savior to pay the price for our sins so we can enter into heaven. When we become arrogant and prideful in our works and all that we’ve achieved, we should be reminded to humble ourselves and surrender our lives to Jesus. He’s the reason why we can enter into heaven, and it’s not by anything we’ve done or attained on our own accord.
Jesus, although He had every right to be treated as a king while He lived on this earth, He still became a servant and humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5-8) to dying on a cross for us. If the Creator and God of the universe could come to earth and still remain humble and appear inferior to the rest of the world, we should put humbleness into practice as well.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant and being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even the death on a cross.
In this day and age it is quite difficult to find humility and submissiveness in the culture we live in. Society tells us to rise to the top. Do whatever you can to get there. If you don’t boast about yourself, who will? Make yourself look good even if it’s stretching the truth. Be competitive. Take pride in your achievements. You can’t admit your need for help. Fake your confidence. Pretend you’ve got it all together. Don’t show any signs of failure or weakness.
Society has turned everything upside down. It praises self-reliance and we are taught the lie that we don’t need others, let alone a Savior to save us. We were created with a desire to be saved and have that desire be filled with a love only Jesus can offer us. Our poverty and poor spirit, that feels empty and craves for more, can be satisfied when we accept Jesus into our hearts. When we admit our need for Jesus as our Savior, God promises us that we will enter into the kingdom of heaven.
In Ephesians 2:8-9 it mentions that we’ve been saved through grace, by faith. It’s not by works that we will enter into heaven, but rather accepting God’s grace and placing our faith in Him. Our good works won’t be an access ticket to heaven. We can act like we have all the “riches” of the world, but they will not be the determining factor that God looks at when we stand before Him.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Before we can enter into heaven, we will need to acknowledge our spiritual depravity and all our good works won’t be able to save us. We need a Savior. Jesus paid the price to cover our spiritual poverty and make our lives spiritually “rich” and filled with blessing. When we’ve asked Jesus into our hearts and we become a child of God, we can find incredible joy knowing that one day we will walk in heaven! A place with no more pain, heartache or struggles. What a glorious day that will be!