POOR IN SPIRIT
The Lord Jesus Christ gave this as the Alpha of His teaching. His first sermon, in the first Gospel, opened with these words – “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Mt. 5.3).
It was also the Omega of Christ’s words. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked . . .” (Rev. 3.17,18).
Though not necessarily the first step in religion it is a necessary step. Job had taken a good many steps God-ward before he made that confession, “I am vile, wherefore I abhor myself.”
Penitence is before privilege. God wounds and He heals; He kills and makes alive. Mercy comes red-handed to those whom Justice acquits.
It is twice written – “Before honour is humility” (Prov. 15.33;
18.12); and three times commented upon by the Master (Luke 14.11; 18.14;Mt. 2342). In praise of a lowly spirit Solomon speaks in general in Proverbs 16.19; and in particular. Proverbs 29.23.
When we look to Christ, our comeliness is turned into corruption;
but when Christ looks at us, our corruption is turned to comeliness. The Holy Spirit invariably describes the people of God as they are in His sight, and employs lovely, and dignified and choice, and comfortable names. But the people of God always describe themselves as they are in their own sight. In his own sight, Abraham was but “dust and ashes”; David was “a worm”; Asaph “as a beast”;
Agur, “more brutish than any”; Isaiah, as “a leper”; Jeremiah, a ‘weak, silly child”; and Paul openly proclaims himself the “chief of sinners”, and if he must count himself among the children of God, he is “least of all”.
Gospel Magazine 1889