The world is filled with Christians. Approximately one third of all humanity claims that title. And the number is growing and will continue to grow as the world’s financial situation changes for the worse. Nothing fills church pews like an economic downturn. The question is: What does being a Christian mean? How does God characterize a true saint? Do all of the world’s three billion plus church goers conform to the criteria described in the one and only Standard for the Christian lifestyle. Reading the four Gospels allows us to learn what Jesus said about those who would join Him in the Kingdom of God on Earth upon His return. Initially, those in the church strove to follow His Words and example. The Book of Acts reveals to us how members of the early church conducted their everyday lives–their “walk” (1 Jn. 2:6)–before Satan’s prophets began their destructive ministries. In Acts we are told that there are certain hard and fast standards which the true saint of God will obey. Real Christianity, as described and prescribed in the Bible, is THE way of life all who wish to spend eternity with the Godhead will emulate. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, describes how God’s true church–the Body of Christ–must live. Matthew 7:13,14 tells us that few will walk the Christian walk and that the vast majority of God-seekers will walk Satan’s walk believing that they are on the right path.
The word “Christian” refers to one who patterns his or her life after the Words and example of Jesus of Nazareth. In what has come to be called “the sermon on the mount” Jesus laid down the basic principles of Christian life. One should periodically study Matthew 5-7 as a refresher course on how to conduct one’s life. We will look at these chapters where we will find several rules that govern the true Christians way of life. God’s people will read and heed the Words of the Master. As we see in 1 John 1-3, obedience to the Lord’s commands is what separates God’s people from Satan’s people.
In Matthew 5:3 Jesus makes reference to those who are “poor in spirit.” In this verse He is not referring to the Holy Spirit which all true saints possess. Recall that upon His resurrection Jesus told the disciples to return to Jerusalem where they were to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which took place on the Day of Pentecost. In Matthew 5 He is referring to man’s spirit–the spirit that is in man–which determines what he thinks, says and does, who and what he is. This spirit distinguishes each of us from all other people. Romans 8:9 tells us that all who are in Christ have the Holy Spirit abiding within them. No Spirit=no God=not a Christian. A true Christian is one who is led by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14). This brings to mind the old adage that one can lead a horse to water, but one cannot make him drink. Normally, if a horse refuses to drink his owner will stop leading him to water. This is also true of one who is led by God’s spirit. Being led and following that lead are two entirely different things. True Christians are led by God through His Spirit. However, some, even among the Very Elect refuse to follow His lead. For these people God’s Spirit is a temporary guest. The Spirit rejecter will soon find himself Spirit free. King David feared that the Lord would take His Holy Spirit from him because of his sins. He voiced his fear in Psalm 51:9-11. Having experienced that loss I can report that “hell on earth” is a fitting description of that condition.
He who is “poor in spirit” is humble. Humility is essential for anyone wishing to be “blessed” with eternal life. Humility is the opposite of pride, which is in reality idolatry in that a proud person worships himself, demands his way, etc. “Meekness” is another word for humility. Meekness, as Jesus was meek, will enable one to inherit the earth with Him (Mat. 11:29). See The Very Elect–Future Caretakers of the Universe. Moses, we are told, was chosen by God to lead His people out of Egypt because he was the most meek of all men. The Christian will exhibit meekness (not weakness) in his daily life (Eph. 4:1,2). Jesus was meek, not weak. No weak man could endure what He endured without resentment or retaliation. A meek person admits it when he is wrong, does not retaliate, does not hold a grudge, does not feel superior to others, etc. L.J.