(I took the picture above at a Church in Germany. It’s suppose to be the oldest stained glass in Europe.)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 ESV)
Those who have humbly submitted to God are given a place of honor in his kingdom. Not that we are seeking honor, but as a result of what Christ has done for us, believers get to dwell with God in the heavenly realms. Dead men and women don’t boast of being special. Spiritual death is the result of being children of Adam and Eve. It is the fruit of rebellion against God. We are cursed by this reality until we are spiritually raised to a new life in Jesus Christ.
We have been given the free gift of righteousness and only “the poor in spirit” can receive it. This gift is received by people who know that they are sinful and need a Savior. And only the Holy Spirit can show us that. God sent Jesus on a rescue mission to the earth to bring all those who are willing, out of spiritual darkness to dwell in the light with him. Only the humble who understand their desperate situation and absolute hopelessness can follow Jesus. And those of us that have been made alive in Christ have been raised up by sheer grace.
Those who are materially or spiritually poor have an advantage over the rich. They know that they have nothing to offer God, but their poverty. The rich must come into the kingdom the same way – knowing that, “God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) Rich or poor we all must come to God the same – as sinners unable to change ourselves and in total dependence on the only One who can. Experiencing the kingdom requires childlike faith – the kind we never grow out of.