Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven

Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven

I’ve been thinking about this quote from “The Horse and His Boy” all day. I am a mended traitor.

C.S. Lewis’ statement drives home the point Jesus made when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, ESV). You can’t fully partake of God’s kingdom — its unlimited resources, unmatched power and unending peace — until you’re willing to see yourself as an impoverished law breaker. You’ve betrayed God’s principles, which makes you a traitor.

You’re guilty and you can’t afford to defend yourself in court. But the king who made the laws wants to pardon you and make you His child and heir.

This is where every salvation story starts.

We stubbornly insist upon viewing ourselves as capable enough, good enough and smart enough to have it all, never needing to resort to God. This is our default way of thinking.

It doesn’t sound like good news to learn that you’re a poor sinner with no hope of measuring up to a perfect God. But, oh, what good news it is! From this low, humbling vantage point, you can finally glimpse what the kingdom of heaven really offers.

Humility means recognizing that the highest position you can ever ascend to is complete dependence on God. This is what God created us to do; it’s our highest and best use.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

“…the Son can do nothing of Himself, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19).

Jesus operated as a reflex of the mind of God. The Scriptures say He did so many good things in His 33 years on Earth that “if every one of them were written down, even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Full unity with God is an infinite factory of goodness.

If Jesus, the only person who never sinned, lived in complete dependence upon God and reaped results like that, why don’t we follow His example more closely? Because we’re earthly minded. We think ourselves sufficient in so many ways, much as a young child thinks he can cross a busy parking lot without holding mom’s hand.

There’s nothing attractive about God or obeying God inside the insulation of self-righteousness, self-reliance, and self-rule. The life Jesus lived and gave away seems repelling, stultifying and grotesque when we are in this mindset. “…He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2, NIV).

But if you’ve arrived at the last outpost of your own ways, if you’re at wit’s end, everything starts to look much different. The laws of God’s kingdom start sounding like sweet music: God gives amnesty to sinners.

How is it possible?

  • Sin is defined as “any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
  • The justice (or wage) earned by sinning is death.
  • Jesus, by not yielding to sin, even once, earned the justice given to a perfect, sinless person: eternal life and victory over death, a seat at the right hand of God, a name higher than any other name, all enemies made a footstool.
  • Jesus volunteered to trade earnings with us. He took our sentence of death upon Himself, conquered it by His resurrection and has the right to confer the justice He earned to us.

No fortune of man, no noble deed, no earnest desire can exterminate sin. Only one thing can remove it from us — the blood of Jesus.

God’s love for His sin-broken creation is so great that He, as Lord of all, chose to empty Himself and pay the ultimate price to restore us to His original intent for humanity. We’re meant to live happily, in a full relationship with our Creator and with one another. God knew wouldn’t be possible unless He saved us from the consequence of our own free will. You’re free to reject His parenting and His kingship if you want to. Can you think of a love greater than this?

The blood that Jesus shed when He died in our place is the antidote to sin and death. He is our amnesty, our way back.

If you’ve failed to measure up and you admit it, you are blessed.

If you know that you need help beyond yourself, you are blessed.

Take Jesus’ trade-in offer. Give Him the little, half-empty shot glass filled with your efforts. He’ll give you the entire storehouse of His kingdom. Your life will change so dramatically that you’ll never forget this moment.

I told you this was good news!