The Kingdom of Heaven as the Reward for the Poor in Spirit

David Norczyk
5 min readMay 9, 2024

A man must be fitted for heaven. Sinners are not a good match for the eternal home of Holy God. Therefore, a radical transformation is required. This begins with the soul (1 Pet 1:3), followed by the change in one’s fleshly body on the last day (Jn 5:28–29). No one but God can make these changes a reality. Only those chosen of God will experience this transfer from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13).

The kingdom of heaven is a place (Jn 14:2–3; Rev 21–22); but it is also in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). When Jesus ministered in Israel, He declared that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Mt 3:2; 4:17). The obvious implication was that He was the promised Messiah/King sent from heaven (Ps 110:1–3; Dan 9:24–26; Mt 1:1). The people of Israel were commanded to repent of their allegiance to the kingdom of this world and its ruler, Satan, the adversary (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 Pet 5:8). In essence, Jesus prosecuted the case that accused the people of being children of the devil (Jn 8:44). The father of lies had deceived them by blinding their minds from seeing the one, true God (2 Cor 4:4), just as he done to Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3).

It has been the devil’s work to lie to Adam and his posterity about becoming gods (Gen 3:5). To be a god is to have the power to control people, place, and things. Gods establish the rules; enforce the rules; and inflict punishment on those who do not obey them. Men of religion create gods in their own image; and they insist others submit to them. They steal from; kill; and destroy those who do not subject themselves to their deities (Jn 10:10; 16:2). Religion has been a powerful tool of oppression under the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18).

The Son of God was sent from heaven to defeat the devil (1 Jn 3:8). At the same time, Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). Sin has always led to the death of humanity (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23). The death of the soul precedes the death of the body (Eph 2:1, 5; Col 2:13). The judgment of God against sinful man, in rebellion against Him, is eternal punishment, body and soul, in fiery hell (Mt 25:41; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).

Only the poor in Spirit are rescued from this universal plight of humanity. Salvation from the righteous wrath of God against sinners results in one’s eternal home being the city of God (Rev 3:12); heavenly Zion (Heb 12:22); the new Jerusalem, in the better country of heaven (Heb 11:16; Rev 21:2, 10). It is the mercy of God to bring orphans into His family and prepare a dwelling place for them (Jn 14:2–3, 18; Rom 8:15, 23; 9:15–16; Heb 2:10).

The heart attitude of the alien must be aligned with his new residence and companionship. He must be poor in spirit. He must walk humbly with God (Mic 6:8). His flesh, however, wars against the spirit of meekness. Men are proud of themselves (1 Jn 2:16). They boast in their positions in the world, achieved by their self-reliant performance. They boast about climbing the ladder, surpassing the Joneses, and having done it “their way.”

It is God who makes a man poor in spirit. God is the origin of the man being blessed (Ps 61:9). What does any man have that he did not receive from God (1 Cor 4:7)? The answer is “nothing.” If God bestows good gifts like Christ or the Spirit of Christ, the only right response is humble gratitude. The arrogant imagine they have it in their wretched flesh to choose whether they will accept or reject the gift of salvation, presumably “offered” to them. In pride, they judge Jesus worthy or unworthy of them. Who made them judge of the Judge of all the earth?

The self-confident, self-made man is the antithesis of “poor in spirit.” Men imagine they are in competition with their fellow man (Eccl 4:4). They are motivated to make a name for themselves. They build towers to display their god-like elevation in the world (Gen 11). They assure themselves of their inherent goodness (Rom 3:10–12). In self-promotion, they convince others they are dedicated to doing good (Is 64:6).

The clever self-aggrandizer takes pride in his poverty of spirit (Uriah Heep). He humbly speaks of his humility and self-sacrificing service. However, the self-effacing can be discerned by “who” he is always talking about with others. Invariably, it is himself who is the subject of his utterances. He is man-centered in his self-expression; and he is the “the man.”

Meanwhile, Jesus declared, “I can do nothing of Myself” (Jn 5:19, 30). When He prayed to God the Father, it was “…Thy will be done” (Mt 26:42). Jesus revealed what it is to rely on God (Prv 3:5–6). Even Jesus’ words belonged to God the Father (Jn 14:10). Jesus, poor in spirit, had the singular ambition to please God (Jn 8:29); and the voice from heaven confirmed the Father’s pleasure in His beloved Son (Mt 3:17; 17:5). Obeying all that was commanded, Jesus demonstrated His love for His heavenly Father. The poor in spirit do the same toward Jesus Christ (Jn 14:15).

Keeping our eyes on the perfectly obedient Son (Heb 12:2), it is the Holy Spirit who reveals our spiritual bankruptcy to us (Jn 16:8). The Bible reveals God in Christ; but God’s Word also exposes the total depravity of man (Gen 6:5; Is 64:6; Jer 17:3; Rom 3:10–12; 8:7; Eph 2:12).

God’s assessment of us empties us of self-worth (Rom 12:3). We are but dust before Him. There is nothing good in us, that is, in our flesh (Rom 7:18). This is the truth of spiritual poverty. Only the believer in Jesus Christ knows what a wretched man he is before God (Rom 7:24). He is poor in spirit; but he is truly happy…in Jesus.

Seeing Jesus, with the spiritual eyes of the heart (Eph 1:18), fills the Christian with a view to the Spirit of Christ. He has denied and impoverished the spirit of self; but the kingdom of heaven has come to him. Jesus reigns in the hearts and minds of His brethren (1 Cor 2:16; Col 1:27), who follow Him in the way of suffering through the kingdom of this world (Col 1:24; Jas 1:2–3).

The truly afflicted, addressed in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5–7), suffer in hope (Rom 8:18; Titus 2:13). The poor in spirit have Him and His second coming as our blessed hope (Col 1:27; 1 Tim 1:1); therefore, we speak of Him and not of ourselves (1 Cor 1:31; 2 Cor 12:9; Gal 6:14; Heb 3:6). Let us then pray for His likeness, now in the Spirit (Rom 8:29), and for His soon return…for then, we will be like Him, glorified in the kingdom of heaven, when we see Him as He is in all His glory (1 Jn 3:2).

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

May 9, 2024

Matthew 5:1–3

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher