On Meekness: The 3rd Beatitude - A.W. Pink
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
There have been considerable differences of opinion as to the precise significance of the word meek. Some regard its meaning as patience, a spirit of resignation; some as unselfishness, a spirit of self-abnegation; others as gentleness, a spirit of non-retaliation, bearing afflictions quietly. Doubtless, there is a measure of truth in each of these definitions. Yet it appears to the writer that they hardly go deep enough, for they fail to take note of the order of this third Beatitude. Personally, we would define meekness as humility. “Blessed are the meek,” that is, the humble, the lowly.
It must be steadily kept in mind that in these Beatitudes our Lord is describing the orderly development of God’s work of grace as it is experientially realized in the soul. First, there is poverty of spirit: a sense of my insufficiency and nothingness. Next, there is mourning over my lost condition and sorrowing over the awfulness of my sins against God. Following this, in order of spiritual experience, is humbleness of soul.
Speaking as one whom God used in the ministry of the Gospel, the Apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” ( 2 Corinthians 10:4,5). The weapons that the apostles used were the searching, condemning, humbling truths of Scripture. These, as applied effectually by the Spirit, were mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, that is, the powerful prejudices and self-righteous defenses within which sinful men took refuge.
The results are the same today: proud imaginations or reasonings—the enmity of the carnal mind and the opposition of the newly regenerate mind concerning salvation is now brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
While humility of soul in bowing to God’s way of salvation is the primary application of the third Beatitude, it must not be limited to that. Meekness is also an intrinsic aspect of the “fruit of the Spirit” that is wrought in and produced through the Christian ( Galatians 5:22,23). It is that quality of spirit that is found in one who has been schooled to mildness by discipline and suffering and brought into sweet resignation to the will of God. When in exercise, it is that grace in the believer that causes him to bear patiently insults and injuries, that makes him ready to be instructed and admonished by the least eminent of saints, that leads him to esteem others more highly than himself ( Philippians 2:3), and that teaches him to ascribe all that is good in himself to the sovereign grace of God.
On the other hand, true meekness is not weakness. A striking proof of this is furnished in Acts 16:35-37. The apostles had been wrongfully beaten and cast into prison. On the next day the magistrates gave orders for their release, but Paul said to their agents, “Let them come themselves and fetch us out.” God-given meekness can stand up for God-given rights. When one of the officers smote our Lord, He answered, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?” ( John 18:23).
No doubt there is also reference to the fact that the meek shall ultimately inherit the “new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” ( 2 Peter 3:13).
-Arthur W. Pink-
This has been an abridged version since his full explanation is quite lengthy. If you would like to read his entire explanation of this beatitude click here.