Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This is part two on the study of verse 3 of Matthew chapter 5. Previously, we examined the qualities of the human spirit and considered how it can be broken down and built up. We began to explore what it means to be poor in spirit and what scripture has to reveal about what it means to fall into the pit of spiritual death because of our sins, our pride, our lusts, and our rebellion against God.
Psalm 143:7 Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
The pit has various possible meanings. It can mean a literal pit that is dug in the ground or a cistern cut into the rock for collecting water. It can mean a prison, or the state of being brought into complete captivity and being led into exile. When a person falls into a pit, it becomes his prison, and he cannot climb out by himself. If he does not receive help from another, then the pit becomes his grave. The pit is the destination of every person who lives in bondage to the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and to the lusts of the flesh.
How can a person in the pit be saved?
The following scriptures describe what God has to say to people who are in the pit. They describe the meeting of man and God, and reveal the way of salvation.
Psalm 25:16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
Psalm 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Matthew 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 21:28-31 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
What will Jesus do for those who cry out to Him for help from the depths of the pit, and repent for their sins and believe that He is God?
Job 22:29 When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.
1 Samuel 2:8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.
Psalm 109:31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.
Isaiah 57:15 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.
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Luke 7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
A Lifestyle of Humility
When a person has been brought up from the pit of death through the saving hand of God, he or she is called into a lifestyle of humility before God. God adopts those who have been saved as his sons and daughters, and sets out to build a healthy spirit in them that is strong in faith and fully dependent upon God. A life-long pattern of humility is something that God requires of us. Voluntary humility is God’s preference, and when necessary, He chastens, prunes, and refines those who He loves to deepen their faith and their humility. Humility is a mark of those who live in the kingdom of God. It is required for every child of the kingdom of heaven. Let us prayerfully ask God to help us to be increasingly humble with the passing of each day. This is not a nice quality of Christian men and women, but an absolute requirement for those who enter into the kingdom of God and dwell with Him in His kingdom. We are not to resist being humble, but are to pray for greater humility, so that we can become true servants for the Lord.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Philipians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
A person who is poor in Spirit is: Humble, Broken, Empty, Barren, Desolate,
Corrupt, Lost, Dry, Contrite, and living in Bondage.
But he or she does not need to stay trapped in the pit of sin and death! There is a way out. Jesus is the door to freedom. He will deliver anyone from the mud of sin and give new life. This gift is not given to those who do good deeds or claw their way out of the pit through self-effort, but is only given to those who are willing to turn away from the sins of the past through repentance, and who are able to believe that Jesus is God. There is only one way out. Jesus offers freedom from condemnation and deliverance from spiritual death. Each person who has been saved by God and brought into His kingdom has turned around from the place of sorrow and death by depending upon God. God responds and gives the person a new life. Additionally, He gives the person His strength to overcome temptation and sin.
When we have been crushed near to death in the grave of our iniquity, God shows us a better way. It is the narrow way of Christ. God quickens our spirit, pulls us out of the pit, and brings us back from the edge of death. We repent, believe, and are born again into new life through the Holy Spirit, which He gives to each child who is adopted into the kingdom of heaven. Being poor in spirit is a mark of a transformed life. May we, as children of His kingdom, always bear this mark within us and cherish it as an on-going sign of our new birth.
As we learn to walk humbly with our God, let us never wander far from the following prayer of King David who fell deeply into the pit. His sin was revealed and he repented. In true humility he was restored to God.
Ps 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.