Back to top

The Beatitudes - Poor in Spirit

Davi P. Silva
August 3, 2017
Let us begin our study of the Beatitudes with the first: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 5:3.

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


In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus issued seven special blessings which are worthy of serious considerations, as they present the essential characteristics of His true followers. In this article we will give special attention to the first one: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


This first blessing is directed to the “poor in spirit”. Christ assures us that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor. The word “blessed” means “happy”. In other words, the people who are truly happy are “poor in spirit”.


Jesus is not saying that the “financially poor” are worthy of the kingdom of heaven. He specifies the “poor in spirit”. The “poor in spirit” are those who acknowledge their spiritual poverty. They consider themselves totally unworthy of the least of God’s blessings. They trust only in the mercy and grace of God.


We can divide humanity into two main classes: 1. those who are poor in spirit and acknowledge that condition, and 2. those who are also poor in spirit but are not aware of their situation. In reality, all human beings are poor in spirit.


In Revelation 3, the True Witness writes His message to the Laodicean Church and declares that those to whom the letter is sent are: ”wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (verse 17). Still in the same verse, he says they consider themselves as: “rich, and increased of goods, and have need of nothing”. The big problem is that they “know not” their real condition.


Those who recognize their poverty are humble in the true sense of the word.


In His invitation to all sinners, Christ said: “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29).


What does the Bible say about true humility?


“The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.Proverbs 15:33


“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time,”  1 Peter 5:5, 6.


By humility [and] the fear of the LORD [are] riches, and honour, and life.” Proverbs 22:4.


For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones,”  Isiah 57:15.


And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted,”  Matthew 23:12.


“All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. He says, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden.Matthew 11:28. He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His grace. We are not worthy of God's love, but Christ, our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of His own character. He pleads before God in our behalf, saying: I have taken the sinner's place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on Me. Does Satan plead loudly against our souls, accusing of sin, and claiming us as his prey, the blood of Christ pleads with greater power,”  {Thoughts on the Mount of Blessings, pp. 8, 9}.


May the Lord help us realize our spiritual reality and help us accept the remedy for our sick souls. To those who know their spiritual reality, Christ promises: “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. And to all who recognize their true condition Christ offers: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  O Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne,” Revelation 3:18-21.


The “gold tried in the fire” is faith and love. The “white raiment” is the perfect righteousness of Christ that He offers for free to all the poor in spirit. The eye salve”, is the spiritual discernment that enables us to see our true condition.”


Do you see how many blessings are available when we know ourselves? But without knowing Christ, we cannot know ourselves. Then, let us know the Lord, for knowing Him is eternal life.

Article Category: