Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In front of a thousand throng of poor, sick, and needy people in the middle of the desert, Jesus said something amazing. He didn’t say blessed are you because you are poor, but blessed are poor in the spirit. Jesus did not preach the preferential treatment of the poor by the Liberals, He said blessed are you when you know that you could not help yourself, understanding that the weakness in ourselves and knowing that by our own efforts and works of flesh we can never help ourselves.
Jesus didn’t go to the poor to preach the Gospel. It was the poor who came to Him. The religious pharisees were in the city, in the temples. The elites would be discussing the issues of the law. Liberal theologians have made Christianity their own theological construction which is flesh centered, ie who God is, is based on their own theological construction. They have made God their own image of political and social activism and put a Christian label on it to give it credibility. Christianity is about Jesus. It is His coming as God and Saviour. Our theological construction doesn’t negate the truth – the finished works of the Cross.
Putting a Christian label, and negating the witness of the Gospel of eternal salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit to that of social justice for the poor, and having it rubber stamped by a conference of churches as a common witness, does’t make it the will of God. We have reduced the message of eternal salvation and boxed in the Holy Spirit power of Christ through the World Council of Churches. But the Holy Spirit cannot be boxed in like the wind, and the new wine is breaking through the old wine skin.
The world teaches religion and spirituality from a position of self and a position of flesh. The little child came to Jesus, not being aware of his own weakness, but mindful of love, power, and grace of God. He didn’t argue about who is the greatest to sit on the left hand side of Jesus in the exalted position, for the child is weak. We cannot come to God thinking that we need to have a bible degree from a liberal mainline college so that we can interpret the word of God correctly. It is that dependency and clinging on to Jesus that qualifies the child to come to God.
When we think we are rich in the spirit, in our works, intellect, spirituality, and righteousness, we create our own religious construction of Christianity of a heaven on earth engaging in political activism. We think we are helping God bring heaven down to earth. But it is all us, all flesh, all man made religion. At the end, heaven is first in our hearts and out of our belly, out of our abundance filled by wisdom from God will the world be changed.
Heaven on earth is not a politics of common sharing of wealth on earth which the liberation theology activists are trying to achieve which will ironically result in total lack and poverty as seen in Venezuela when free money from high oil prices are taken away. The innate corruption and sin within man corrupts everything.
Does God have a preferential treatment for the poor? He does not. The poor will always have with you. But often, the poor came to Jesus, because they have nothing in this world and of need. Jesus called them blessed for not only they have their needs in this world met, but because their poverty in the spirit, they will be filled with a spiritual richness and understanding and revelation that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and Savior. Therefore, although they may remain poor on Earth, in heaven they will be richer than those who are rich on earth.
Why are the poor not coming to the mainline liberal churches in the US and Australia? Because many of these churches are filled with liberal elites who are doing very well. There is no need to come out of worshiping the god of their own theological construction which is without eternal hope, supernatural power nor saving grace. Their lives on earth are very good whilst for many others heaven is our only hope of rest. These privileged elites have no need for Jesus. In the Maslow hierarchy, they have everything. They can afford to play religion and spirituality because they are not in desperate need of a touch from heaven. The same goes for many gay churches.
Jesus said blessed are the poor the Spirit? Are we poor in the Spirit, and dependent on God in prayer, dependent on the finished works of the Cross, that God’s love, grace, and mercy can come out of the Holy of Hollies to each one of our lives? We want to see the curtain broken into many pieces that we may enter the throne room of Father God in Heaven because we are now a child of God being purchased by the blood of the lamb. We want to see the glory of God, to bring down the glory from heaven into our lives and into the lives of our community, because we are desperate.
Liberal Christianity groups people corporately by their race, color, gender and religion. Yet, the black liberation theology in the States have not achieved the freedom and economic equality they sought for. The liberation theology in latin America has resulted in violent dictatorships and power/wealth in the few elite. Because, Jesus sees us often not as a group, but as an individual. There is no corporate salvation on earth, but individual salvation, because each of us have to come to a point of decision to acknowledge we are a sinner and are poor in the Spirit. Without the centrality of Christ, our heaven of commonwealth on earth becomes a delusional affair in our mind or a prison of common poverty and utter denial of human rights.
The problem lies within each individual, with our heart, and demanding corporate salvation denies the individual responsibility and decision of each person. Change come from within. We are not really free until we are free from the inside. We are free when we acknowledge our moral poverty and the need of a Saviour. We enter into freedom through God’s grace knowing that we are forever forgiven.
In Singapore, the worst thing about the Wear White movement and their condemnation of the innocent gays is that it makes gays look inwards and be sin and self conscious. It denies them of Jesus Christ thinking that God rejects them. When we look inwards, we begin to think ourselves unworthy, and begin to seek good works of love to gain God’s acceptance because of our sexuality. That is why few gays attend churches. They have made the children doubt and stumbled the innocence of the weak.
Even if we go out to the desert, to the outskirt of society, but offer people a tangible experience of God, and a hope for the future and even eternity (because their life on earth is no more being gay!), the poor in spirit will come to our church even if it takes them effort to come. For the people are hungry, and so poor in the spirit, seeking a God whom the church has said has rejected them as sinners! and if we preach Jesus. the risen Lord, and the power of the Holy Spirit, God will do the rest. For really, how can we help so many. When we come into the light, when we come to heaven, we see Jesus Christ, and his nail pierced arms will embrace us.
In seeing gays as a corporate group, the church has failed to see gays as individuals worthy of God’s love. grace and mercy, whose ultimate sin like all of us is unbelief in Jesus the Son of God, Lord and Savior of our lives. We consider ourselves worthy against those gay sinners, but really no one is worthy, but when we are really poor in Spirit, we see our poverty and see Jesus Christ filling our lives with His Love, Grace and mercy. When we see how poor we are, and how rich and merciful God is, our hearts will be filled with compassion, grace and mercy.