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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « We're Pagans I tell you! by Pastor John Samson | Main | Regeneration by C. H. Spurgeon »

    The Beatitudes: A Short Relection on The Poor In Spirit By Marco Gonzalez

    For some time now, I have invested my time in studying the beatitudes. By God’s grace I have learned and tasted Christ’s words and continue to. These beatitudes showed me the virtues that every Christian should have. These virtues are not for the highly-esteemed pastors, evangelists, and note-worthy Christians. But, it is to be manifested by every Christian. There is a cost when you look into these truths; it will cost you to strip yourself of all pride, self-worth, and esteem. But, through the word and spirit all these truths can be applied to our lives continually from glory to glory. These truths have the profound effect of keeping a man on his knees before God. It is my desire and I hope it will be yours to live like this through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us remember that the same sun that hardens the clay also melts it. Never become indifferent to the word of God. Let it dwell deeply in your hearts.

    When Christ spoke these words I believe there was a logical and coherent order to them. I do not believe our Lord merely said these words in a random or unsystematic order. The beatitudes are a description of our Christian character. When the church lives out as a whole these virtues which are completely opposed to the virtues of world the gospel is manifested. The first of the beatitudes is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” No-one who is part of the kingdom of heaven is not poor in spirit. This vital characteristic of Christians is an emptying of our souls before God. The gospel always presents us with a negative and positive aspect. Sinners must be brought down before they can rise up. Conviction must always precede conversion. Please notice that the beginning of the beatitudes already condemn the idea that man can carry out or merit his own salvation. The very first thing the Sermon on the Mount tells us is that you are utterly incapable in and of yourself to reconcile yourself to God.

    What Christ’s words should concern us with is our attitude towards ourselves. It is the poverty of our spirit and spiritual bankruptcy that should concern man. This is the complete opposite of the worlds view of self-- express yourself, believe in yourself, realize the power you have within yourself. To be in “poor in spirit” does not mean that we are weak, nervous, and lack courage. This does not mean that we suppress our own personality. Remember, none of the qualities described in these beatitudes are natural qualities. There was once a story about “Lawrence of Arabia.” This man, who suppressed his own personality, changed his name to “Aircraftman Shaw”—just a regular man. He met a tragic death in a bicycle accident. This man was then hailed as a man of humility and courage. To be poor spirit does not mean that we must react like this. We tend to believe that those who are self-sacrificing are the poor in spirit. I believe the best definition of being “poor in spirit” is found in Isaiah :

    “ For thus saith the high and loft one that inhabitheth 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.”

    Moses in dealing with his task from God found himself deeply unworthy and inadequate for Gods purpose. This is what is meant by being “poor in spirit” to strip ourselves of all pride, self-assurance, and self-reliance. It means to be aware of lowliness before God, that we are nothing within ourselves and can do nothing with ourselves. We should not boast that we belong to a certain family or that we are a certain nationality. We should not rely on our natural positions in society. This means we experience what Isaiah did….”woe to me, for I am a man of unclean lips.” We need to ask ourselves, “Am I like, am I poor in spirit? How do I feel about myself toward God? What do I regard to myself as worthy? What do I boast in?

    The only way man can obtain this kind of attitude is to look at himself before God. You cannot truly look at him without feeling your absolute poverty and emptiness. I believe we can only saw then:

    Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling

    Empty, hopeless, naked vivle, But he is the all-sufficent One

    Yea, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come.

    Posted by on March 20, 2006 03:10 AM

    Comments

    Marco, I do believe you have given us a wonderful definiton of the root of genuine humility. Who does God push away from Him? The proud. Who does God draw unto Himself? The humble. So, does being poor in spirit flow from this humility or is the cause of it?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

    I now realize that the Prayer of Ignatius that I have been saying is actually the essence of "poor in spirit". I share it here for those for whom it might also resonate:

    "Take, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, and understanding, my entire will.

    You have given all these to me.

    Give me only your love and your grace for this is sufficient for me."

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