Q. In Matthew Chapter 5, what do verses 5:3, 5:9, 5:10 mean? They seem to contradict belief in the Son as the only requirement for salvation, (“blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs’ is the kingdom of heaven” for example) but I know God’s Word does not contradict, can you help explain?
A. Because of the Lord’s numerous statements that salvation is by belief alone (John 3:16, John 6:28-29, John 6:40, etc,) His comments in Matt. 5 can’t be interpreted as adding anything to belief. Many are self explanatory, here’s some help with the others.
In Matt.5:3 the phrase poor in spirit means humble, or lacking the pride that often accompanies power or influence. Believers know that whatever power and influence they have came from the Lord and are humbled by it.
The word meek in Matt. 5:5 means mild mannered, gentle of spirit. Numbers 12:3 tells us Moses was the meekest man on earth.
In Matt. 5:9 the word peacemaker describes a person who is not contentious or argumentative, It’s a sign of the Holy Spirit’s influence that Paul encouraged in Romans 12:18.
In Matt. 5:10, since only believers are considered by God to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:21), we’re the only ones who can be persecuted because of righteousness.
These qualities are evidence of the Lord’s presence in a person’s life. They’re examples of the fruit of the Spirit, and are similar to Paul’s list in Galatians 5:22-23; “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The Lord was using examples that apply primarily to believers and reminding us that even if we don’t have much in the way of worldly status, believers have a place in God’s eternal Kingdom which is better by far.