A friend of mine asked me for my take on Christ’s statement that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” This is it:
My take on that verse has to be subjected to what God means by it, and so I have to say, “thank you,” because God is calling to me through you to become more meek, which is to say, Christ-like. Surrendered to God’s will (not willful in myself), with a servant’s heart (as opposed to a master’s heart), humble instead of proud or haughty, not argumentative, and definitely not willfully sinful. So thanks. I really needed it.
The short answer is that it means exactly what it says.
That verse is in The Beatitudes, which are the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, starting in Matthew 5.
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
I’m pasting it through verse 20 because in verse 20 Christ is saying that there’s no way to atone for your sins by your actions and works. The scribes and Pharisees were religious legalists who followed the law to “perfection,” but it is not enough to atone for sins. In fact the law is INCAPABLE of doing so, and only exists to show that there are in fact sins. What Christ is saying is that unless your righteous acts are BETTER THAN PERFECT, you will not atone for your sins and therefore will not be holy and therefore incapable of entering Heaven. In effect he’s saying it’s impossible.
So then, it is only by way of being meek, which is submitted to God’s will, like Christ himself (who was God, and still is), and accepting his atoning sacrifice (death of the innocent, the lamb of the world; we no longer need to kill animal lambs to atone for sin, which for animal lovers like us is another indication of the mercy of his sacrifice. Killing the lambs was a religious act, and Christ in effect made religion obsolete at the moment of his death. Thus the phenomenon of the lazy Christian (such as myself). But God will finish His work, and how wonderful it is to not be capable of undoing it). So we are called to be meek, and accept his atoning sacrifice without arguing legalistically about it (defending your own righteousness), so that we can inherit the earth.
Literally, like an heirloom.
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
God is not going to allow sin to just reign on forever; He made the universe, and it is currently occupied territory, like Hitler taking over France, but He will come to take it back. It will be holy, free, liberated, Christ will reign instead of Satan and his presidents, and we will either live in it with him (inheriting it, as though it were an heirloom) (wow), or reap the benefits of trying to run things our own way, which benefits are only temporary and end at the moment of death. As David Rockefeller I’m sure can testify to, and would, if he could.
I really needed this conviction right now. Thanks for asking. Hope this helps.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.