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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Blessed are the Meek - Matthew 5:5

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by John Hendryx


Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. - Matthew 5:5


Our society does not value meekness. We honor the ambitious; we reward the “self-starters.” Meekness is considered by many to be synonymous with weakness. In business and in relationships, people are encouraged to be more bold. Those who are not are pitied. For how else are we to get what we want, and our culture is all about getting what we want.


But the Kingdom of Heaven has completely different priorities. As we have seen in the Beatitudes, the Kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit, those who are aware that their sin leaves them morally and spiritually bankrupt, and in no position to negotiate a deal for salvation with God. We must cast ourselves on Him and plead His mercy; and He does respond in mercy. As Jesus says in John 6:37, “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”


The second beatitude says “Blessed are those who mourn.” It is not that mourning is inherently beneficial, but grief over our sin is the only right response to having transgressed against a God Who has loved us so well. As we are initially forgiven and brought into the kingdom of heaven, our former way of life and the remaining effects of sin will cause us to mourn. But those who mourn will be comforted, as God continually gives grace and forgiveness.


As the one before, the third beatitude is built upon what precedes it. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Just as we mourn our sin, the realization that we are poor in spirit, spiritually destitute and wholly dependent upon God’s grace humbles us. We become meek because we cannot lord our position over someone else when we owe everything we have and everything we are to the King of Heaven and He would not have us behave that way. So the Apostle Paul can say in Philippians 2:3, “in humility count others more significant than yourselves,” and again, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned (Romans 12:3).”


We may believe—and fear—that such a disposition will have trouble surviving, let along getting ahead in this world. But this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31). The Lord is going to restore His creation and there will be a new earth, one without sin, in which the meek will be at home and in God’s presence and everyone will get along. The poet may ask, “What good is a used up world and how can it be worth having?” but the world that the meek will inherit will not be the used up one, but a new and improved one.


The response of the meek to such an idea is, “But I don’t deserve it.” And that is why it is his, in Christ Jesus.

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