Mathew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
The language of hungering and thirsting is allegorical toward a deep desire or want for something. It would be contextually inconsistent to apply literal food or literal water to the filling of those who hunger or thirst. The first beatitude was instrumental in setting the context of the fundamental matter when Christ said, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” Giving us the understanding, that the foundation of topics being spoken of are in a spiritual sense. The second beatitude was a pronouncement of blessing on those who mourn. Also in the spiritual sense of mourning over our desperate condition of sin in which we realize will only be comforted in the deliverance from it by Jesus Christ through His salvific grace. The third beatitude pronounced the blessing and inheritance for those who are meek in character, which implicated someone who has a low temperament, humble, and one who is not vengeful but instead trusts in the Lord to take vengeance for the personal wrong doing of others to them. It is important to realize that this spiritual character of meekness follows from the first two beatitudes, and cannot be achieved without first being humbled. This humbleness or humility cannot be achieved without the first beatitude of someone recognizing how poor we are in spirit. We are all born with spiritual deadness, or spiritually dead. Remember that in Genesis 2:17 God warned Adam, that if he ate of the forbidden tree he would die on that very day; and so it was that Adam did die on that day in a spiritual sense, and everyone born from Adam after that day are all born in with the same spiritual deadness that God decreed. We are born spiritually alienated from God and cannot see the kingdom of God as spoken by Christ in John 3:3 where He told Nicodemus that unless one is reborn of the Holy Spirit of God miraculously no one can see the kingdom of God. This is meant not only in the sense of not able to enter into the kingdom of God in Heaven, but also in a spiritual sense unable to “see” meaning understand the kingdom of God, which time after again and again the kingdom of God in the Gospels are analogous of the Gospel of Christ or even Christ Himself. Therefore, we are spiritually poor because we are spiritually dead. It is when we realize that we are naturally spiritually deprived of the richness of Christ when we finally cry out to our savior Jesus Christ and confess, repent, and be baptized. A quick warning should be mentioned here for those who are or may become preachers of God’s mighty word. Never ever preach confession unto Christ without repentance from sin and being baptized. To do so would be to preach an incomplete Gospel, and an incomplete Gospel is no Gospel at all.
Secondly, when someone finally realizes their spiritual depravity; it has a natural effect of feeling remorse and guilt over your sins. This is the mourning spoken of in the second beatitude. This is what leads us to repent of our sins. These spiritual properties in the Christian lead to humility, which is a quality of meekness. Chronologically once these three characteristics are given by God’s grace it builds in man the desire for righteousness, which providentially leads us to the fourth beatitude.
In the fourth beatitude Jesus said, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Sadly it seems that it is the minority who thirsts for the righteousness of God. The majority would rather bloat themselves with sin; only to lead to their ultimate ruin and becoming an absolutely detestable thing for all eternity in hell.
Job 15:16 reads: How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinks iniquity like water?
The disobedience of God, which is sin by definition, is an abominable thing. Man is born in sin and is therefore a filthy creature, who as the Prophet Jeremiah said our best good dead are as a filthy rag to God. Because we continually go back to our sin as natural as drinking water; not knowing or understanding the gravity of spiritual defilement we are getting ourselves into.
What is this righteousness we ought to hunger and thirst for? Certainly it does not consist of any worldly factors such as; earthly water, pleasures, or riches. Furthermore we know Christ would not be alluding to the carnal issues of life as He said in:
John 6:27 Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.
If we look at Easton’s Bible Dictionary for a definition of righteousness; it directs you to the word justification which means, “A forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, (think of a judge now sitting at his bench ready to decree a sentence) by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. (This means that God pardons all who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats those who believe in Christ as righteous as if it were the believer of Christ who was credited for obeying all of God’s commandments found in God’s law). In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law.”
Righteousness then is the obedience of all God’s laws flawlessly from the beginning of life until the end of life. Is there anyone born who may obey all of God’s commandments? No all are born in sin and will sin until the point of death. So no man may ever be righteous. Therefore our justification, which is the forgiving, or the pardoning of sin is impossible. We are not worthy of justification unto eternal life, but instead we are worthy of condemnation unto eternal death and destruction. For those who do not understand this doctrine of imputed righteousness; they may not have noticed my oxymoronic statement when I wrote, “Righteousness then is the obedience of all God’s laws flawlessly from the beginning of life until the end of life.” It is an oxymoron because if one is obedient without breaking God’s law, then there is no sin, and if there is no sin, then there is no need for death. There was only one ever born of a woman without the seed of man transferring or imputing the guilt of Adam on a child, who was Jesus Christ; born of a virgin from the Holy Spirit of God, not by Adams curse; so therefore there was no Adamic guilt passed down to Christ making Him innocent and free from sin. Jesus Christ therefore lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s will and law; was therefore unworthy of death. Christ never sinned, so He should have never been put to death, but for the sake of redemption God the Father predestined Christ to death on the cross so that on the cross Christ may become sin by God imputing our sin on Jesus, and transferring the righteousness of Christ on those who would believe in Christ which then justified the sinner who was worthy of death, now forgiven by God and declared guiltless and righteous as if the sinner fulfilled the law of God flawlessly.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I began defining righteousness by asking rhetorically what righteousness is, but for the sake of proper perspective we also need to ask, who righteousness is? The answer to that is Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – 17 these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!
The Old Testament is full of signs, figures, types, and shadows that point to the Messiah. Jesus Christ was all those things; in fact before there were any of those shadows pointing to Christ, Christ already existed from eternity. Reality Is Jesus Christ. The Jews knew these things from the Old Testament and still rejected the prophesied Messiah. They attempted to fulfill righteousness by their obedience to God’s law for justification. They did not realize the righteousness of God who is Christ standing before them to fulfill God’s righteousness for them. This is evidently seen in:
Romans 10:3-4 For they (the Jews) being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.
If you believe in Jesus Christ; righteousness toward the law of God has been fulfilled for you. God does not judge us on getting into Heaven by our righteous deeds because we have no righteousness to offer God since we sin. God looks at our faith in Christ and justifies us into Heaven based on the righteousness of Christ credited on our account. Unfortunately there is seemingly an innumerable amount of religions in the world which gives a false sense of righteousness. Some teach false God’s and some teach a false Jesus, but what all false religions of the world have in common; is they all attempt to be justified by God by their own deeds which will never gain them access to heaven but only to hell. Christianity is the only religion in the world whose justification for mankind is based not on the righteousness of men, but on the righteousness of someone else; Jesus Christ.
I want to show you how serious of a doctrine and concept this is. Listen to what Jesus said in:
Matthew 22:11-13 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is an extremely scary illustration of judgment given by Christ. This is a side of God and Christ the modern American Pastor does not preach about because they are so concerned with a numbers game, which always leads to compromise. It is a misconception to believe that the success of a Gospel preacher is measured by the numbers in his church. The success of a Gospel preacher is measured by the amount of conviction of sin, repentance, sound doctrine, and revelation of Christ is instilled in the hearts of whoever attends; the numbers do not matter whether they are few or great. The numbers are not our concern as preachers; that concern is of the Holy Spirit. Our concern as preachers is to make sure we have our theology squared away.
In relation to the wedding feast; Jesus Christ is the King who comes in to see His guests. In the wedding there was a requirement for any guest to attend; that requirement was a wedding garment of a particular sort. The garment required to enter the wedding feast is the righteousness of Christ. We are allowed into the wedding feast, which is a type of our union with Jesus Christ as Christ is the Husband and we His bride. The righteousness of Christ is given to us to wear as a garment. Let’s consider a few passages in relation to wearing the righteousness of Christ as a garment.
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Revelation 19:7-8 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Christ approaches a man not wearing the appropriate attire and asks why he is not in the proper clothing. The man can think of nothing to say. This is because man cannot justify himself by anything he says or does. Such will be the case of every man who stands before the Lord on judgment day; utter speechlessness as they lay prostrate on the floor before absolute holiness, when mans arrogance will finally be destroyed to nothing and the full acknowledgement of his sin will be revealed to mans conscience, and he will know at that instant moment that he deserves only death from this Holy King. Jesus said to the servants not to the guests; the guests represent those who come to believe in Jesus Christ as their God and savior, the servants are His angelic hosts and servants in Heaven. He calls them to bind this trespasser by hand and feet. Does this sound like a weak feminist king to you? Christ was meek in life because it was required of from Him by God the Father to fulfill His purpose on earth and to be our example of what kind of conduct we should have in character. But Jesus Christ as King and Judge is a strict one. Call on Jesus Christ now while He is full of love and mercy, so that you may know Him as savior; or else ignore Him and you will meet Him as judge. Christ calls His servants to tie the trespasser and cast him into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth; and of course we know this place to be none other than hell.
Now that we have an understanding of justification and righteousness; having an understanding that Jesus Christ is our righteousness. If we are to hunger and thirst for righteousness, then we ought to not only desire to obey God’s commandments, but we ought to desire Jesus Christ Himself. We desire to obey His commandments not to gain access into heaven, but we obey God’s commandments because we love Jesus Christ for what He did for us; for saving us from the outer darkness of hell. Furthermore our thirst for righteousness is only quenched by Jesus Christ Himself for He is righteousness. Remember what Jesus Christ told the Samaritan woman at the well?
John 4:13-14 Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.”
John 7:37 On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and 38 let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, “From within Him will flow rivers of living water.”
Anyone who does not have Jesus Christ as their righteousness will continually thirst for his own. We without Christ will never have our thirst quenched because the natural body thirsts for sin continually. The more we are prolonged throughout life without repentance the more and more we fall deeper into the claws of sin until it consumes our very soul. We give into our death as the scriptures saying drinking iniquity like water. But for the one who has given His soul over to Christ; our souls have now been regenerated by the Spirit of God. Our natural thirst for sin is still tempting, but the rivers of life which flow out of Christ give us the strength to endure and overcome. As we are continually seeking the water from Christ by; worshiping, praying, studying, and fellow shipping with like minded believers; our new thirst is being quenched until we reach glory in the Kingdom of God where our thirst will finally be quenched for all eternity.
Until then do not be discouraged as we desire for the water of Christ in a world where it seems there is a famine thereof. The righteousness of Christ on earth seems to be a scarce quality, but such a concept is not true because the Gospel of Christ has penetrated all nations of the earth, just as Christ told His Apostles go and spread the Gospel of Christ throughout all the nations. It must be realized that the Gospel of Christ being preached in all nations suppresses evil, and exalts the righteousness of Christ. Since it is true that we have been filled with the righteousness of God, then let us go out and spread this righteousness we covet every day. Let us forever have the desire as King David did in:
Palms 63:1 O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.