We recently considered how God purifies the spiritual gold in believers, and why it is important. I concluded the lesson asking, “How do we build gold and gems into our lives, and what are they, that we might receive the rewards promised to those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)?” This will be divided into two parts.
Matthew 5:2-12 Then Jesus opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is you reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to recognize pure spiritual gold.
Blessed are the poor in spirit – those who truly humble themselves to God and to others. This is contrary to natural human wisdom, which exemplifies wealth and power as greatly desirable and worthy goals. This nugget is why the rich and powerful rarely receive salvation, because their attitudes often keep them from humbling themselves and recognizing their desperate need for Christ. The same is true for those who are merely religious, who find their righteousness in their own works.
In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus gives us a parable explaining humility. A religious leader of the sect of the Pharisees and a tax collector were at the temple, praying. The Pharisee thanked God he was not an adulterer or thief, or like the tax collector standing beside him. He bragged to God about his tithes and fastings and other works.
The tax collector, on the other hand, would not so much as raise his eyes toward heaven, crying out, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.” Jesus explained the one who admits his sin is justified by God, not the one who brags about his works of righteousness.
It is our duty, and a privilege to work for God or to obey Him. When a slave, a servant, an employee, does the things which his job requires, he does not go to his employer bragging that he has cleaned the bathrooms; It was expected that he would do so, for that is part of his job description. Likewise, if we fast, if we tithe, if we do not commit sin, it is only what God expects of us as His servants and children.
An employer pays his employees; That is the reward for doing as they are supposed to do. God has rewards which He will give because of our obedience, or rather, may take away if we disobey. Some are here and now rewards, and some are eternal rewards.
Like a child who has a weekly allowance, if the child does not do the works expected or disobeys, the parent may take away part of the allowance. She may get $20 a week, but if she does not do as expected she may only get $15, or $10, or even none at all – but she is still the parent’s child. It is much the same with our heavenly Father.
The reward for humility is the kingdom of heaven. It begins with salvation, for we cannot receive the right to enter heaven unless we humble ourselves and acknowledge we need a Savior, we need Jesus. When we do this, we are rewarded with the gift of eternal life.
And we can only learn how to live the kingdom life, how to develop spiritual gold, by remaining humble, being teachable and submitting to God’s commandments for our lives. Thus our eternal rewards are in large part directly related to our humility.
You can only inherit authority in the Kingdom by submitting to the authority of the King of kings; He will not give authority to those who refuse to obey His authority. The angeil Lucifer was in charge of praise and worship, was one of the leading angels of God, until sin was found in him, until he decided he shoud be held as equal to God in authority. When pride lifted him up, the authority he already had was stripped away from him and he was cast down, and became Satan, the enemy of God.
Jesus, on the other hand, who is God, willingly humbled Himself to the Father and took on the form of a servant in the likeness of man. He became human and lived in total obedience to the Father, and even died a shameful death on the cross. He could have legally insisted on holding His rights as God, could have called a legion of angels to instantly deliver Him from His oppressors, slaying them. But He willingly chose to submit in humility, as an example to us. Pure gold.