Summary: Now we have a real problem here. We are told to hunger for Righteousness but this seems to contradict other scriptures that says that this kind of lifestyle is impossible for us to live.
24/12/09 Pastorross | public entry | tags: Righteousness, Hunger and thirst for God, Matthew 5 | report
Matthew 5 - Part 5 - Are you hungry enough to do something about it!
I have tried fasting a few times in my life and always found it helpful. Once, after a fast for a week or so, I was so hungry for food that I went out and bought a pizza. I was sick that night. Not a good idea to introduce pizza to a starving stomach too quickly. Are you hungry enough?
I was thinking yesterday that so far in Matthew 5 it seems to me that the first Beatitude is like a heading for the rest. It all speaks of being hungry for the things of God. "Blessed are the poor in spirit" is the key verse and the rest are subheadings. The "poor in spirit" ie those who acknowledge their spiritual need, are people who "mourn" over their sin, who have the quiet, self controlled strength of being "gentle" and who also "hunger and thirst for righteousness". So Jesus appears to be teaching a succession of character qualities that He sees as important for a disciple. This is leadership training 101 on the mountain. I think that ...
"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS - for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6) is fairly straightforward. "Righteousness" (Dikaiosune) is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. "Righteousness" means to be right and to do right or to be good and to do good. It’s the opposite to sin.
Now we have a real problem here. This seems to contradict other scriptures that says that this kind of lifestyle is impossible for us to live. Listen to Romans 3:10 (NLT). It makes it totally clear...
"As the Scriptures say, "No one is righteous- not even one."
Romans 3:23-25 (NLT) says,
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard...."
Listen to Isaiah 64:6 (NLT). It says,
"We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags."
Now how does this work? Christ wants me to "hunger and thirst for righteousness" but then the Bible says none can be righteous. Philippians 3:9,10 answers this question. It says,
"I no longer count on my own righteousness ...; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ"
Romans 3:24, 25 makes it clear that when we have faith in Christ, God CAN declare us righteous...
"Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. ...,"
Romans 5:1 (NLT) says,
"Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."
So we can be right with God only when we believe in Christ. We can then do what is right as we live in the way God calls us to live. But one thing is crucial - that we hunger and thirst for that kind of righteousness - rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men.