What Kind Of Poverty?

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

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives”
Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ 
But you do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Revelation 3:17 (NIV)

In the beatitude in Matthew 5:3 Jesus is speaking about people who are spiritually destitute. They have come to the end of themselves and sense that they have nothing to commend them to God. They are in a place of utter helplessness and recognize they are totally bankrupt in God’s presence. This is the place where everyone must arrive at prior to becoming acceptable to God.

If we feel we have any redeeming qualities, we will never look to Christ for redemption (Revelation 3:17). I recall a friend telling me about an experience his daughter had while attending university. My friend’s daughter invited a girlfriend to attend a varsity evangelistic meeting where the late John Stott was preaching. As the daughter was listening to the preacher, she realized her friend was muttering something under her breath. Listening intently to her friend she heard her repeating, “I’m not as bad as all that.”. The young lady was struggling with the idea she was possibly bankrupt in the presence of a holy God. As long as she resisted the biblical description of humanity apart from Christ, she would not seek the Good Shepherd.

For those of us who are believers (Matthew 5:3) we see ourselves as citizens of the “kingdom of heaven”. We have had the good news (Gospel) related to us, our broken hearts have been bound up, we are freed from the captivity of sin (Isaiah 61:1).

Christian rejoice today in the knowledge that the Saviour’s death paid the price in full for your sins and His righteousness has been given to you. You appear as holy before God as His beloved Son. Indeed, as one of the redeemed, you now have as much right to be in heaven as Jesus Himself. Through all eternity we shall sing the praise of Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots,
And melt the heart of stone.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim—
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.
– E. Hall

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