Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”
After looking at the requirement Jesus now gives us the:
The reason is righteousness; our appetites should ache for righteousness. Righteousness should be our relentless pursuit, and the object of our desire. Yet for many of us the idea of righteousness is not only a foreign concept but a foggy one. What does it mean, for many righteousness is a bit of a mystery, but righteousness means being right with God. Righteousness involves right living and in the Sermon on Mount the word righteousness is used four more times. Taken together these four passages paint a picture of what it means:
Matthew 5:10 says: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…” This is the eighth beatitude, and when taken together with the fourth, we discover that righteousness is a lifestyle which not only identifies us as followers of Christ but also invites opposition from the world.
Matthew 5:20 says: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The spiritual leaders in Jesus day had created a religious system built on rules and regulations instead of on relationship. True righteousness starts in the heart, changing us from the inside out. This is more than just behavioral modification where we conform on the outside while staying corrupt on the inside.
Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” The Pharisees not only loved to be noticed by others, they lived for it. Instead of practicing true piety they participated in performance based religion that promoted self. Instead of their goal being to give God the glory they practiced self-praise. Their prayers pointed to self not the Savior, their giving was done to get attention. True disciples seek a righteousness that is not self-seeking and that does not need to be seen by others. Authentic righteousness seeks an audience of one.
Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Seeking God’s righteousness is paramount and should precede everything else.
Putting these four passages together it becomes clear that we are to hunger and thirst after a Christ centered lifestyle which changes us from the inside out, so that we stop seeking the praise of others and start seek God’s approval above all else. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness means seeking to do whatever it takes to be in a right relationship with Jesus. This involves both imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” Imputed Righteousness is given to us at our conversion. When we place our faith in the finished work that Christ did for us on the Cross, His righteousness is credited to our account. This imputation of righteousness is always by faith, never by our works. Faith is the same footprint that is seen throughout scripture, from the Old Testament to the New. From Abraham in Genesis 15:6 where it says: “Abraham believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” to Romans 10:10: “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we receive His righteousness. Have you receive the righteousness of Christ? Has your hunger and thirst led you to Christ, the only One who can satisfy the cravings of your soul? 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that Christ died as our substitute, taking our sin and exchanging it for His righteousness: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Imparted Righteousness involves right living; this is what Christians are called to live out in their lives. Where imputed righteousness comes as a result of salvation, imparted righteousness comes from hungering and thirsting for sanctification. Because we are righteous in position, we must live righteously in practice. Because we are right with God we are to live right for God. Romans 6:18 says: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Do you have a hunger for holiness and a relentless thirst to do what is right? How hungry and thirsty for righteousness are you? In contrast to the self-righteousness of the religious leaders, Jesus wants us to live rightly not out of obligation and duty but out of a deep desire to live for Him. Lastly Jesus reminds us of the:
Our requirement is to hunger and thirst, the reason is for righteousness, and our reward is that we will be filled. This means that when we seek Him we will be satisfied. God’s plan is for us to live satisfied lives not starved ones. But until we come to the place where we are single-minded in our pursuit of the Savior, we will never be satisfied. Are you seeking to find your satisfaction in the Savior? The Prodigal Son sought satisfaction in the world and wound up eating pods with the pigs. It was only when he was starving that he sought the Father. Sometimes it’s only when we come to the end of ourselves that we finally allow God the Father to have His way. The bible tells us that true satisfaction only comes when we seek God with all our hearts.
Psalm 23:1: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
Psalm 34:10: “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”
Psalm 107:9: “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Jeremiah 31:14, 25: “I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty…I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
Do you want to live a full life or a famished one? Do you desire righteousness? What is it worth to you, is it worth giving up worldly things? Are you going to pursue God’s purposes or your plans? The Message paraphrase renders Jeremiah 29:13 this way: “When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” Most of us today are living mediocre lives instead of meaningful ones because we are filling our lives with junk instead of Jesus. While our souls are crying out for Christ we are feeding them crumbs. Instead of seeking true sustenance we are seeking substitutes. What are you filling your life with is it the Father? Jesus invites us to dine with the deity, how about you, are you ready to sup with the Savior?