I love what J.C. Ryle writes about the first instruction Jesus gives us in the Sermon on the Mount when our LORD declared to us: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Ryle writes:
“The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are poor in spirit. He means the humble, and lowly-minded, and self-abased. He means those who are deeply convinced of their own sinfulness in God’s sight. These are they who are not ‘wise in their own eyes and holy in their own sight.’ They are not ‘rich and increased with goods.’ They do not fancy they need nothing. They regard themselves as ‘wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ Blessed are such! Humility is the very first letter in the alphabet of Christianity. We must begin low, if we would build high.”
I love the way Ryle puts that: “Humility is the first letter in the alphabet of Christianity.” Who refuses to see this when we come to know the LORD by being born again? We see it because we realize how it took God moving in us before we would believe. It took God’s Spirit giving us a heart of belief and removing our heart of stone. The true believer knows that he is a believer purely by God’s grace. God may have used the believer’s intellect in the process, but his belief is not a result of that intellect, or human reason. In fact, while faith is not void of intellect and reason, the true believer knows that more often than not, our intellect and reason stood in the way of our belief. It took a miracle in our lives to bring us to faith.