The poor in spirit will enter the kingdom of heaven

Anyone can be poor in spirit. But why would anyone want be poor in spirit anyway? In order to attain eternal salvation. After all, this kind of poverty is a fundamental prerequisite for salvation—for both rich and poor alike!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It was with this familiar Bible passage from Matthew 5: 3 that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider served the brethren in Norderstedt (Northern Germany) on 10 November 2019.

“The first sentence in His first great sermon was addressed to the poor. Jesus thereby wanted to show that the gospel applies very specifically to the poor,” said the Chief Apostle. “You are not forgotten by God, and your poverty is not a punishment. God loves you and cares for you.”

It is all the same whether you are rich or poor

This goes to show: “Your poverty is not an obstacle to salvation either. Even if you are poor—and remain poor—you can still enter into the kingdom of heaven. However, “Poverty is not a guarantee. Need is not a carte blanche.” No one can use their sufferings to claim a right to compensation. And last, but not least: “Need, poverty, and suffering are not prerequisites for attaining salvation. There are also wealthy people who will enter into the kingdom of God.”

The same applies to both poor and rich: it all boils down to having the right relationship with God. “Being poor in spirit is a condition for attaining salvation. Anyone can be poor in spirit,” the Chief Apostle explained, and he went on to use seven core thoughts to illustrate.

The wealth of the poor in spirit

I need You always: “Of course, one can also live on this earth without God—but one cannot be saved in that case. There will always be something missing. Only when a person has fellowship with God can he be completely human, can he be happy.”

God knows what is good and what is evil: “If I follow the path of God, I will always be going the right way. I have no risk of going astray. I will not make any mistake if I am obedient to the Lord.”

God has everything under control: “Those who are poor in spirit will not seek any explanation. They already have it. The explanation is simply: ‘God loves me. He desires my salvation. I trust Him.’ And suddenly, they are no longer afraid of the future. They have confidence. Their trust in God makes them strong.”

With God I can manage anything: “We constantly make the experience of our own weakness, and this could very quickly lead us to say, ‘I will never manage this!’ Then God comes and says, ‘I know you better than you know yourself. You can indeed manage this! I will help you.’ And then the poor in spirit will give it another try.”

I cannot earn my salvation: “Salvation is something so great that no one can earn it. The poor in spirit are aware of this. They know: ‘All I need to do is ensure that God can grant me grace.’ And to whom does God grant grace? To those who love Him.”

I am just as much in need of redemption as my neighbour: “He is a sinner and I am a sinner. We are on the same level. If I receive salvation, than he should also receive salvation. This is not always so easy: there are some people whom we love with all our hearts, and others whom we can barely manage to love. God knows everything there is to know about my neighbour—and loves him nevertheless.”

Let us be one in Jesus Christ: “As long as people try to achieve oneness on their own, they are doomed to fail. Only when all take Jesus Christ as their point of reference, follow His example, and grow into His Spirit and nature will perfect fellowship among human beings be possible.”

The Chief Apostle’s conclusion: “God offers salvation to those who surrender themselves to Him, who obey Him, who seek His grace, who are gracious to others, and who make the effort to grow into the image of Christ.”

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Andreas Rother
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service