Monday, December 3, 2018

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

What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It is possible to be poor in spirit and not know it and you can know what a man poor in spirit ought to be and not be poor in spirit yourself. However, such a word as this ought to be understood for, “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. We may conclude that the poor in spirit are none of those who practice the works of the flesh i.e. Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like, for those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). However, abstaining from all of these vices and unmentioned “such like” vices does not guarantee one the kingdom. It is not enough to simply avoid vices, for Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). This is more than realizing your own frailty and recognizing your need for God's mercy (as the theologians define it). The poor in spirit pursue the mind of Christ,permitting nothing to be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind they esteem their brethren and sisters better than themselves, while they look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (Philippians 2:3-5). The poor in spirit sell what they have and give to the poor (Luke 12:33). They forsake all they have to follow Christ (Luke 14:33). They call nothing their own and have all things in common (Acts 4:32). His cause is preeminent, not theirs (John 18:37). They render unto no man evil for evil; rather they turn the other cheek and suffer themselves to be defrauded (Romans 12:17, Matthew 5:39, 1 Corinthians 6:7). They are valiant for truth upon the earth and regard not the consequences, loving not their own lives even to the death (Jeremiah 9:3, Revelation 12:11); for to them: to live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). The poor in spirit recognize the good portion, what is needful, as did Mary and are satisfied (Luke 10:42). For they eat the true spiritual meat which some know not of (John 4:31-36). They do not desire an easier way or more comfortable life than the one Jesus had (Luke 6:40); not that it would be possible to be poorer in spirit than Christ, but they humble themselves and despise their own weaknesses (Luke 18:9-14). They love not their father or mother, brother or sister, wife and children, friends and possessions, or their own life, more than Jesus (Luke 14:26-33).  They are not offended; there is no root of bitterness in them; neither do they despise others (Galatians 5:22-24). They have this treasure in earthen vessels: the kingdom of heaven (2Corinthians 4:7, Matthew 5:3). Therefore, the poor in spirit are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor; yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things; they are surrendered, and yet more than conquerors (2 Corinthians 6:10, Romans 8:35-37). They look to the poor Christ who, though He was rich, yet for their sakes He became poor, that they through His poverty might be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9); Who came into this world not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28); not to live His life, but to give it (John 5:30); who, though He would have been just to be first, made Himself to be last (Philippians 2:5-11); who would have been kind to only give us commands, but He gave us examples (John 8:12); the poor in spirit look to Him, who’s beard was ripped out (Isaiah 50:6), whose face was spit upon (Mark 10:34), whose sacred head was crowned with thorns (John 19:2), who was nailed to the tree and crucified for love of them (Matthew 27:35, Romans 5:8), to redeem them (Galatians 3:13), yea, they verily strive to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160