While on vacation here in Cannon Beach, Oregon I could not help but ponder my life and how much of it is centered on busyness. While basking in the sun on this beautiful beach I thought of the scripture passage where Jesus gives his Sermon on the Mount to his disciples in Matthew chapters 5-7. I wondered how much more time I should spend listening to Jesus on the “mountainside” instead of wasting time in the busy “marketplace” of my life!
In this passage Jesus is teaching his disciples on the mountainside. I read this passage over and over and I kept coming back to the beginning of The Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3 where Jesus says to his disciples, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
What exactly is “poor in spirit?” I’ve heard many Christians explain it as meaning people who are physically poor, destitute, and poverty-stricken. Some people even misquote this verse as “Blessed are the poor……” But it clearly reads “poor in spirit.”
I believe that Jesus is saying that in order for us to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must humbly acknowledge that we are spiritually poor, destitute and in desperate need of a savior. We must come to the realization that we cannot make it into the kingdom of heaven on our own, by our own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We must admit that we are a sinner and fall short of the glory of God. When we humble ourselves and become “poor in spirit,” it is then, and only then, that we can receive God’s gift of salvation because of the death and resurrection of His sinless Son Jesus Christ on the cross, in which he took our place and punishment for our sins in order for us to be reconciled with God. We receive God’s free gift of salvation through our faith in Him. When we believe in the name of Jesus Christ and receive God’s Holy Spirit to dwell in us, we are saved and will spend eternity with Him in the kingdom of heaven.
God through the prophet Isaiah explains “poor in spirit." In Isaiah 66:2 (NIV) the LORD God says, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” The word ‘contrite’ means: feeling or showing regret for bad behavior and sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming. In other words “poor in spirit” is acknowledging you're a sinner and having remorse for your sin, which is the beginning of repentance that leads to salvation and favor with God.
I have heard people tell me that when they have attended a 12-Step Program, such as AA, that the first step is acknowledging that you have a problem, which is necessary before you can be helped. It is the same with salvation in Christ. We must admit we have a problem and need help from our Savior Jesus Christ.
The best example in the Bible that I can think of to describe “poor in spirit” is when Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple in Luke 18:9-14. Jesus explains how the sinful tax collector was the one who went home justified, not the religious Pharisee who was a teacher of the Law. The tax collector (in vs. 13) would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This is “poor in spirit.”
I want to daily become poor in spirit and humbly ask God for forgiveness and repent from my sins. In turn I want to forgive others as God has so graciously forgiven me.
I hear many people (Christians and non-Christians) refer to all the people in the world as “children of God.” Are we all children of God? I have heard it so many times, even in various bible studies I attend, that I decided to do a post on it.
In John 1:12 (NIV) the Apostle John says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Therefore all who receive Jesus Christ and believe in his name, the right to become a child of God is given to you by Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world.
In Romans 8:14 (NIV) the Apostle Paul says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Therefore when we receive Jesus Christ, his Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and we are led by his Spirit. Our lives should reflect this by evidences of the Fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.
If we don’t have any of these nine fruits of God’s Holy Spirit evident in our lives, are we really children of God? These nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians are how people will know we are Christians (children of God). The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
So if we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and receive his Holy Spirit how will we really know we are children of God?
The Apostle Paul says further in Romans chapter 8:15-17 that, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Does God’s Holy Spirit testify with your spirit that you are His child? If not, today is the day of salvation!
For additional study on "children of God," here are additional scripture in the Bible that speaks about children of God: Luke 20:36 John 1:12 John 1:13 John 8:41 John 11:52 Romans 8:14 Romans 8:17
Romans 8:19 Romans 8:21 Romans 9:8 Romans 9:26 Galatians 3:23 Galatians 3:26 Philippians 2:15 1 John 3:1
1 John 3:2 1 John 3:10 1 John 5:2 1 John 5:19 Hebrews 12:4-13
Note: The term "children of God" is only listed in the New Testament. I did not find any scripture in the Old Testament that talks about "children of God." The OT refers to children of Israel or God's chosen people, but not children of God.