SOTM – Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

In the first three beatitude we have seen the empting process that each one of us must go through before God can fill us, before God can do away with our helplessness, and before God can restore us to a right relationship with Him. We have realized that we are spiritual beings created in His image but through the sin in our lives we have become spiritually poor. That because of our spiritual poverty we cannot stand in the presence of a Holy and Righteous God.

We have realized the sinful nature that we have and know that our sin has been against God’s Word and our fellow men. His Spirit has convicted us of our short coming and we have become truly sorrowful for the sins of our past. We now mourn not as in displeasure but in deep grief for what we have done. We know that there is nothing that we can do to erase the past or the effect that is has caused. That we are hopeless to survive the judgment and wrath of God and the wage of our sin which is death. For this we wail and mourn at the throne of His Grace.

As this truth sinks into our being we see that we have been self-centered and filled with the vanity of self-pride. We have been full of ourselves and uncompassionate to those we see as lessor beings. Knowing our truthful state we have set aside that haughtiness of a selfish spirit and consider others as just as valuable to a loving Creator. It is not what we judge them to be but what God desires them to be and we are to share His truth with them in gentleness.

We have called upon the name of our only Savior Jesus Christ and confessed our evil ways and repented. We have turned away from the old self and now live in the desire to be as our Lord, to grow in His likeness, as He is the way, the truth, and the life. We now have a greater and divine purpose for our life. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) We are not seeking just a portion, as a portion falls short of the glory of God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We seek all of His righteousness as that which we will receive on the day that we are with Him. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

A purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is not to just care for the symptoms of sin as starvation, crime, and disrespect for life, but to equip believers with the gospel that they will hunger and thirst for His righteousness. Righteousness is not something that we can achieve on our own. The Pharisees tried to achieve righteousness by their outward living before men. We can perceive ourselves as righteous by our external living before men but this is the bedrock of hypocrisy. God judges the heart of men and there is the truth of their character. Jesus saw this and called the Pharisees out. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27) The Pharisees thought they could keep God’s Law physically and be accepted into His kingdom spiritually. They could not keep the law spiritually or physically. “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

No one can achieve righteousness on their own. We are born with a sin nature from the fall of man and at some point in our life, in our day, we will sin against the Word of God. Even with the best of efforts we will fall short of the mark of righteousness. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10) No one can stand before God with sin attached to his life. The fire of God’s judgment would consume that person. Moses asked to see God’s glory but was only allowed to see the backside of God for no man can see God’s face and live. “But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20)

Only through the righteousness of God’s Son Jesus can we one day stand before God. By our faith in Jesus we are given His righteousness and able to enter into God’s Kingdom. There is no other way but through our faith and fellowship with Jesus. “And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:9)

The righteousness that we receive from Jesus is perfect, as He is God. God is wholly righteous and there is none greater than He. This righteousness that we receive from Jesus that allows us to have a right relationship with God the Father, allows us entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, and we will sit with Him on His throne. “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:21) For this we should and shall be grateful for all of eternity.

As we desire to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness we shall be satisfied. We will find all that we desire for in our relationship with Jesus and through Him our fellowship with God the Father. It is a basic truth for all that we do in life, as it was taught to us by His Word, the Word of God. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) And we shall be filled with His righteousness.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, January 31, 2015

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