Sunday, June 6, 2010

Poor in spirit, rich in His grace - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Poor in spirit - rich in His grace

... what is the [meaning] of being 'poor in spirit' ... ? It is that Isaiah said (57:15): 'For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth 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.'

That is the quality of spirit, and you have endless illustrations of it in the Old Testament. It was the spirit of a man like Gideon, for instance, who, when the Lord sent an angel to tell him the great thing he was to do, said, 'No, no, this is impossible; I belong to the lowest tribe and to the lowest family in the tribe.' That was not Uriah Heep, it was a man who really believed what he said and who shrank from the very thought of greatness and honour, and thought it was incredible. It was the spirit of Moses, who felt deeply unworthy of the task that was
laid upon him and was conscious of his insufficiency and inadequacy. You find it in David, when he said, 'Lord, who am I that thou shouldst come to me? The thing was incredible to him; he was astonished by it. You get it in Isaiah in exactly the same way. Having had a vision, he said, 'I
am a man of unclean lips'. That is to be 'poor in spirit', and it can be seen right through the Old Testament. But let us look at it in the New Testament. You see it perfectly, for instance, in a man like the Apostle Peter who was naturally aggressive, self-assertive and self-confident-a
typical modern man of the world, brimful of this confidence and believing in himself. But look at him when he truly sees the Lord. He says, 'Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' Look at him afterwards as he pays his tribute to the Apostle Paul, in 2 Peter 3:15, 16. But ... he never ceases to be a bold man; he does not become nervous and diffident ... The essential personality remains; and yet he is 'poor in spirit' at the same time.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, p. 49-50

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