The Sermon on the Mount is found in chapters 5 – 7 of the book of Matthew. This is the longest discourse presented by Jesus found in the Bible. In this message, Jesus begins with a list of proclamations known as the Beatitudes, each starting with the phrase “Blessed are.” In verse, 5 of chapter 5 He states, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” (KJV). The meek shall inherit the earth? What could that possibly mean? Who are the meek?
We probably all know someone who can’t wait to announce their every accomplishment. If we’re honest, we probably need to admit at some point we were that person. It’s nice to get a pat on the back and be acknowledged for your effort and success. That boastful and prideful persona is the opposite of meekness. The Beatitudes are a list of examples of who will end up in the kingdom of God – who will be blessed. The proclamation that the meek shall inherit the earth is perhaps the best example of exactly what Jesus was teaching in this discourse. Every step we take toward accomplishing God’s desire for our life is done so in His power. The moment we try to take credit for our good deeds is the moment we have abandoned our faith. The point Jesus is making in the Beatitudes is simply that we cannot get to the kingdom of God on our own. The only path to God is through His Son Jesus Christ. It is the death and resurrection of Jesus that provides us with salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit that then grants us the ability let go of our pride and truly achieve meekness.
Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Seeking to meet God’s standard in our own power is absolutely impossible. The only way to achieve righteousness is through our faith in Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount takes two of the Ten Commandments and lifts them to and even higher standard. Jesus tells us that we break the commandment not to murder by simply being angry with our brother (Matthew 5:22). He then tells us that the commandment against adultery is broken simply by looking at a woman with lust in your heart (Matthew 5:28). It’s likely our Lord could have elevated all ten of His commandments to this higher level. The message being delivered is clear – we cannot achieve this standard in our own power – we need the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. The meek shall inherit the earth by acknowledging they are totally inadequate and completely dependent on God. It’s the Spirit of God that brings you to your knees and makes you meek. The law of the Ten Commandments does not change people – salvation through Jesus Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit makes the change and fulfills the law.
Romans 8:3-4 (NASB)
“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
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