Blessed Are The Gentle
By Lee Jones
We’ve arrived at the third of the beatitudes. To briefly recap, it’s blessed to be spiritually bankrupt and to have grief over your sin. We now move forward to Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle (or meek), for they shall inherit the earth.”
First, there is a strong cross-reference with Psalm 37, specifically verse 11. Starting in V. 10 “Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” This passage is an example of something the Psalms do wonderfully: poetically setting up comparison and contrast. In these two brief verses, we see a sweeping description of secular vs. Christian life. The wicked God-haters perish, they disappear from their places. But believers stick around, they inherit the land and God provides for them.
We can afford to give up pride, accumulating wealth selfishly, and other things, because we have a greater inheritance than any nest-egg we could cobble together We have an eternity to spend in fellowship with our gracious Creator, which is more than anything.
That’s great, but how is this gentleness connected to the Beatitudes up to this point? Consider that we are spiritually bankrupt in our sin, and by grace we mourn that sin and are forgiven through Christ’s blood and granted his righteousness. Thus, with our new nature, we are gentle, like our savior in whose likeness we are remade.
Let’s remember that gentleness is listed among the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). This Beatitude should be one of the most expected outcomes in the Christian life. Moses is described as an unparalleled example of meekness in Numbers 12:3, and he spoke with God like a man speaks with his friend. If anyone had a reason to be puffed up or brutal, it would be the man who met with YHWH on Sinai and carried down the law and was tasked to judge the people by it. Yet he was more humble/meek than any man on earth.
Meekness is also a necessary foundation for further Beatitudes. For instance, without gentleness, how can one make peace or show mercy? If we are not Christlike in being gentle, but are instead brash and arrogant and reviling (2 Tim 3:2), we will not adorn the gospel. The Bible is clear that those things are sins and proceed from a rebellious spirit of an unregenerate sinner.
So because we are a new creation in Christ, we should desire to be gentle or meek toward others, because we look forward to the Kingdom of Heaven. We can afford to give up pride, accumulating wealth selfishly, and other things, because we have a greater inheritance than any nest-egg we could cobble together We have an eternity to spend in fellowship with our gracious Creator, which is more than anything.
This is the root of so much for our good works in sanctification. When we love our Lord, that love flows in gentleness (as well as in other things) onto our neighbors. This is good and this is blessed, because God has blessed us richly, so let’s also bless others and, in so doing, encourage others to praise our Heavenly Father and to put their trust in Him for salvation.
Glory to God alone.