is the Man Who Walks in the Spirit
Dr Douglas Haas DO
Student at Pinecrest
The Beatitudes: ten short verses preserved for us by the
anointed pen of a publican who not only heard these words,
but witnessed their fulfillment in the life of his Master.
The King is now set and about to open His mouth, to teach
us concerning His Kingdom, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled."
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called
the children of God."
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness'
sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake."
"Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward
in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were
To a baffled Nicodemus Jesus once said, "Except a man
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," and
again, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God" John 3:3,5.
Jesus is King of a different kind of Kingdom; one that is
entered only through a birthing in the Spirit. Its rules and
manifestations are quite unlike those of a natural kingdom.
It is a Kingdom where the end does not justify the means,
but the means are ever so important. In this Kingdom, attitudes
and motives are made manifest as we come to the light, reflecting
whether our deeds are wrought in God, or not(John 3:21). It
is a Kingdom where grace has set us free, but love constrains
us. It is a realm not revealed by flesh and blood, but by
the Father which is in Heaven (Matt. 16:17). Finally, it is
a Kingdom not natural; but SPIRITUAL.
"Now concerning spirituals, brethren, I would not have
you ignorant" I Cor12:1. Yet show I unto you a "more
excellent way" transcribes the Apostle Paul, setting
forth the necessity for "spirituals" to be rightly
Our Lord is a revealing God, who desires to show His people
how to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the desires of the
flesh. He longs to teach us the etiquette of His Kingdom.
He hungers to show us this "more excellent way"
of charity. Is not our Heavenly Father continuously revealing
The Kingdom of God; Life in the Spirit; and the Calvary spirit
of love; in an intricate interlocking weave throughout the
There can be found in the beatitudes such a networking of
truth, as set forth in the Galatians 5 listing of the fruits
of the Spirit, and in Paul's 1stCorinthian 13 inventory on
love. It is a three-fold cord not easily broken, a firm foundation
of our faith. This is what it means to be a Disciple of Jesus
"Blessed are the poor in spirit" begins the King,
striking a shattering blow at the world's idea of being self-sufficient.
The Greek word used for poor is "ptochos." It is
one of two words for "poor" in the Greek language.
While the other word, "penes" is used to describe
one who has few possessions, and has to work hard for a living,
the word "ptoches" describes the man who has absolutely
nothing at all. It has connections with the root word "ptossein,"
which means to crouch or cower. It describes a poverty, which
has been beaten to its knees. To be "poor in spirit"
is to become like Jesus, who "made himself of no reputation"
Phil 2:7. For, "though he was rich, yet for your sakes
He became poor (ptoches), that ye through His poverty might
be rich" II Cor 8:9.
Paul recognizes this very attitude of heart as the fruit
of "gentleness." Here one is made mild, amiable,
and kind, as the Holy Spirit operates in his life. Not an
arrogant show of strength, but a gentle humility, taking the
lower seat, so that another may benefit. In this poverty is
compassion; in this crouching of self, is the lifting up of
others; in this "kenosis" (self-emptying) is love.
"Charity is ... kind," writes Paul in I Corinthians
13. President Bush called for a "gentler, kinder, nation"
as he accepted his nomination as a Presidential Candidate.
Many years before, the Supreme Potentate, Jesus, called for
such a kingdom as well. Motivated by His love, may this mind
be in us, which was also in Him, being "kind and compassionate
to one another" Eph 4:32 NIV. "As poor, yet making
many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things"
II Cor6:10. The reward is the very Kingdom of God itself!
The second blessing is bestowed upon those who mourn. What
a strange idea to our natural minds; blessing in mourning.
Nonetheless, this is a different kind of Kingdom. Jesus' words
are "Blessed are they that mourn." He did not identify,
at this point, why this mourning takes place. This infers
more than just a blessing for anyone who mourns, for whatever
reason. Else this would have to include those in the Book
of Revelation who mourn for fallen Babylon.
The object of this mourning can be identified in a passage
where Jesus uses the same word again. In Matthew 9:15, the
disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus about fasting. He
answered, "Can the children of the bride chamber mourn,
as long as the Bridegroom is with them? but the days will
come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and
then shall they fast." This mourning is related to the
separation of God and man. This can be better understood when
we look at the reward given to those who mourn, namely, "They
shall be comforted." The Greek word "parakaleo"
is translated "comforted." It is derived from the
noun "paraklesis" meaning "a calling to one's
side." Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Comforter, or
"parakletos" and further identifies Him as another
of the same kind as He. The reward for those who "mourn"
to be with Christ once again, is that they will be called,
one day, to his very literal side and forever be with Him.
The connection of mourning to the fruit of long suffering
(Gal 5) and to the statement "Charity suffereth long"
(1 Cor 13) can be seen. Walking in the Spirit necessarily
involves patience, forbearance, and endurance; producing the
fruit of long suffering. Love also is seen as an enduring,
patient, forbearing quality of the Spirit. Christ loves us
and longs to gather us to his side, as a mother hen gathering
her brood, or a Father running to meet his prodigal son. So
also, a mourning for, and a patient enduring for that time
of total edemption becomes a comfort to us as we walk in His
Meekness is the next attribute that is blessed by the Lord
in the Beatitudes. Contrary to our common idea of meekness,
it is a "temper of spirit" in which we accept his
dealings with us as good, without disputing or resisting.
It is closely linked with the word (tapeinophrosune) "humility."
Described negatively, meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness
and self-interest. In I Corinthians 13:4, we are told "Charity
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." This relates
to the attitude of meekness. To vaunt oneself is to be a braggart
or boastful. To be puffed up is to be proud, vain, or arrogant;
having an inflated opinion of oneself. These things will never
be our motives as we walk in the spirit.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness:
for they shall be filled" Matt 5:6. This hungering and
thirsting is not just for a part of righteousness that may
temporarily satisfy, but rather for the whole of righteousness.
In this way, righteousness extends beyond mere words or actionst
o the very heart's attitudes and motives. It means whatever
is right or just in itself, or conforms to the revealed will
of God. One who hungers for this righteousness obviously has
joy in that which conforms to the revealed will of God. Love
"rejoices not at unrighteousness, but rejoices with the
truth," where truth subjectively means sincerity and
integrity of character. The fruit of "goodness"
is the fruit of the spirit fitting this description of a life
morally honorable, pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial.
"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy"
Matt 5:7. As Jesus most likely spoke in the Aramaic tongue,
the word used for "mercy" was most apt to be "chesedh."
This Hebrew word does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone
who was in trouble, but implies an identification with the
person: being able to get inside his skin, see through his
eyes, feel the things that he feels. This comes with a deliberate
identification with the other person. Is this not what Jesus
did? Is not His mercy bestowed on us from the vantage point
of total deliberate identification with our predicaments?
And to this same kind of mercy are the hearers of the Beatitudes
called. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, "Charity
... thinketh no evil." Motivated by love, we will never
calculatingly keep score of things done wrong towards us,
but will continuously and lovingly show mercy. If we are identified
with another, we will not seek to harm that one, but rather
to have mercy on them. Love, which seeks the welfare of all,
and works no ill to anyone, is the corresponding fruit of
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God"
Matt 5:8. The Greek word "katharos" is translated
pure in this verse. This word originally meant "clean"
and referred to clean, as opposed to dirty, objects. It has
also been used of corn that has been winnowed free of all
chaff or of any army purged from all discontented soldiers.
Finally, when used with the adjective "akeratos"
it speaks of wine free from mixture or metal with no tinge
of alloy. So then, the meaning takes on the idea of totally
unadulterated, unmixed, and unalloyed. It could be said, then,
that one who is pure in heart, is one who has unmixed motives
doing all things out of love for God.
Mixed with selfish ambition, our heart's desires will blind
us from ever seeing God. But having "self" controlled
by the very Spirit by which we walk, will yield a pure and
unmixed heart, through which God Himself will be viewed. (Charity)
"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own"
I Cor 13:5. The NIV rendering is (Love) "Is not rude,
is not self-seeking." If the alloy of "self"
is mixed in our heart, it cannot be pure; but if our response
to God's claims is one of total surrender, then our motives
and attitudes will be totally pure.
"Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called
the children of God." Peace to the Hebrew mind meant
not only the absence of trouble, but the presence of all that
is good. The blessing is to the man who not only desires peace,
but who also makes peace. The connotation is that peace is
bestowed to others, by the God-like work of the child of God.
Paul tells us that love "is not easily provoked."
There is a blessing bestowed to the one who is not provoked
at all by others, whose peace is undaunted, who buffers the
caustic personalities that are around him, and bridges the
gulf between contention and contentment.
Matthew 5:10-11 provides a picture of the one who endures
persecution for the sake of Jesus' name and righteousness.
There is something in suffering for Christ that is very valuable.
At no other time is Christ nearer, than when we face reproach
for our loyalty to Him. Jesus calls this walking in adversity
a blessing, the reward of which is the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is an aspect of the Kingdom in which we are not necessarily
protected from opposition, which is expected in a natural
kingdom, but rather this persecution is a manifestation of
the Kingdom. Jesus showed us the way: a way of mockings, scourgings,
false accusations, and eventually death. Jesus said, "The
servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted
me, they will also persecute you" John15:20.
The fruit of faith is a necessary ingredient to endure persecution.
When a man faces resistance and even death for his convictions,
we know that his faith is on a firm foundation. The Greek
word "pistis" can be translated faith, but also
"firm persuasion." It implies an absolute trust
in Christ that manifests itself in a total surrender to Him.
Hebrews 11 deals much with faith. Four moving verses of the
chapter (vv 35-38) considers faith the essential component
that allowed our forefathers to endure much persecution and
hardship. It was by faith that Moses chose to suffer affliction
with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures
of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater
riches than the treasures of Egypt. Forsaking earthly treasures,
his was a spiritual reward.
Joy is the overflowing expression of the one who walks in
the Spirit, who has entered the Kingdom of God, and who has
been totally motivated by love, both or God and for one another.
This joy is inwrought and serene, and unable to be touched
by the circumstances of life. It is this joy which accompanies
us when we become poor in spirit, suffer persecution, show
mercy to a neighbor, or deny the cravings of self. Unlike
the joy of the world, which can vanish as quickly as the things
in which we find our earthly bliss, this joy will remain as
steadfast as the one who bestows it upon us.
Jesus is the King of a different kind of Kingdom. Before
his Ascension on the Mount of Olives, his disciples asked,
"Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom
to Israel?" Acts 1:6. He said it was not for them to
know the time for this, but there was something for them.
"But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you," Acts 1:8.
The Greek word for power is "dunamis" and can be
translated as ability, or the power that makes us able. What
about this Kingdom, Lord? How do we enter into it? His answer
includes, and is available to us. "You will receive this
ability after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you."
We can be constrained by His love, walk in the Spirit and
enter into His very different Kingdom, even the Spiritual
Kingdom of God.