Hurt to Be Healed

January 29, 2018

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3.

There are two effects of the gospel: it wounds before it heals. Before we can rise to blessedness, we have to be brought low—we have to recognize that we are sinners.

Spiritual bankruptcy doesn’t sound like a desirable state, but until a person is convinced of their sinfulness, attaining the kingdom of heaven is not possible. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (5:3).

Radical Life on Earth

This first Beatitude tells us of the condition for entry into the kingdom of heaven. But it is also the first step to a radical Christian life on earth, because until we have poverty of spirit, we will never be meek, we will never mourn, we will never hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will never have purity of heart or any of the other characteristics that Jesus goes on to describe in this sermon. It all begins with poverty of spirit. The fall comes before the rising. The gospel of Christ convicts before it releases.

Some mock and scoff at this idea. They criticize men from past generations like Jonathan Edwards, who preached to his congregation a sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” But the fact is, unless we recognize our own lost condition, we will never truly be saved.

Health for the Soul

Sometimes a deep season of conviction is actually healthy for our soul. A dear friend of mine had been deeply immersed in what he referred to as “vile sin.” This sin had led to a history of mental breakdowns that eventually landed him in a mental institution. He told me, “I thank God for those breakdowns because without them, I would have never come to Christ.”

We are so quick to try to relieve people’s consciences, but the deep conviction that God works in people brings them to a place of genuine conversion. That’s what Jesus is talking about: blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Grace of God

But for those who fail to recognize their poverty of spirit, oh how sad and tragic, for theirs is not the kingdom of heaven. And as Jesus said, when the kingdom eventually comes, they will be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Have you understood that without the grace of God, you would be lost forever? If you have, then you are blessed. God’s favor rests upon you. If not, ask God to give you poverty of spirit. Remember, God only wounds to ultimately heal. We need to be wounded with the truth so that God can heal us with the truth.