“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
To be blessed is not simply to be happy. It is to have God's favour on us. Many of the beatitudes will not cause us to be happy in this world (eg: blessed are those who are persecuted), but to have God's favour is a wonderful thing and we have the promise of eternal life. This first Beatitude is the first of the four which are between man and God, and it is crucial to becoming a christian.
To be Poor in Spirit is to realise that there is something wrong in your relationship with God. We need to realise that we are sinful, that we are helplessly and totally depraved. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot do anything which will please God by ourselves - even our good works are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6, Philippians 3:8). We know that everyone sins. Sin is disobedience to God. Romans 3:23 says that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. There is not one human being who has ever lived (besides Jesus, who is God) who has not sinned, from Adam and Eve to us. Since we sin, and since God is just, the only possible solution is his judgement upon us. His justice must be fulfilled, and that means an eternity in hell. No matter what sin we have done - be it murder or lying. We are all equally as sinful, and even the 'smallest' of sins deserves the penalty of eternity in hell. The Poor in Spirit see this and realise their completely helpless condition. We need to realise that we cannot save ourselves and that we don't even deserve salvation before we will be humble enough to repent and turn to God.
What's the good news then? Where's the hope? Well it's in what Jesus has done. Jesus is God, and he gave up his glory and became a human. he suffered along side us as a man, he was tempted - though he did not sin. He completely obeyed God's laws and he alone did not deserve God's wrath on sin. As a result, he alone could die in our place to takes the sins of his people, dying on the cross and being forsaken by God as we deserved. He deals with our sins completely so that we can not only be forgiven (which is amazing), but adopted as God's children and granted eternal life. God is truly gracious and merciful! But to be saved requires us to accept it. We aren't saved by what we do, but we need to accept salvation, and if we are genuinely Christians then we will act like it - to serve God, to thank and glorify him, and because we are truly sorry for sins. In Mark 1:15 Jesus says 'Repent and Believe for the Kingdom of God is near'. That is how we accept salvation. Repentance is saying sorry for sin, and is followed by a complete change in life. From disobeying God to obedience. A 180 degree turn. If we are genuinely sorry for sin, then we will fight it in our lives and live like christians. To believe is to have faith - to trust in Jesus: as Saviour and Lord, as the fulfilment of God's promises and as the only way to be saved.
The promise: "For theirs is the kingdom of God", and theirs alone. What a blessing! We (Christians) are given eternal life with God, we are adopted as his children, we are forgiven even though we dont deserve it! We need to realise our state before God, humbly repent and he will exalt us. He will bless us - a little here, especially with the promise and sure hope of salvation, but ultimately in heaven, which he returns to judge and when he saves us completely. Take a look at Revelations 21 for a snapshot of what heaven will be like! What a glorious thing our saviour has done! All glory to God! Note: this reward is also int he last beatitude. These things are things which all true christians should be doing and building in our lives. As a result, the blessings are all linked.
So, are you poor in spirit? Do you realise your absolutely helpless condition before God? It is only then that we will turn to him as the only way to be saved. Have you repented and do you have faith in jesus as saviour and Lord? He is the only way to be saved.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.