#271 – HUNGERING AND THIRSTING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS (25/1/21)
This week, we are considering the fourth Beatitude,
'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.' (Matthew 5:6)
What does it mean to ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’? For Matthew, who is writing this account, it means right conduct in the eyes of God. It’s longing for His character to be made evident in our lives.
In the last beatitude, for example, Christians are 'persecuted because of righteousness’, because of their righteous lifestyle for Jesus. This is not principally about our asking God to bring justice into the world; rather, this is about our actions in the world as His Kingdom representatives. It’s in God’s Word that we learn about God’s righteousness. For example, here are some of God’s ways that we are to exhibit,
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. (147:7-9)
We need to be clear that righteous living is not something that we invent; righteous living is that which is described in God’s word - in this Sermon on the Mount for example. Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it,
‘The man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness is the man who wants to exemplify the Beatitudes.‘
Righteousness is never something that we arrive at, we are constantly hungering and thirsting for growth in righteous living for ourselves and the church.
We are to be like the athlete whose hunger and thirst drives them to train hard. At the end of the day they are satisfied with their efforts, but they are still hungering to train. This is our paradox - we are both hungry and satisfied.
Of course, we must never forget the fact that we are righteous through the justification that comes by faith alone. Paul writes,
‘But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…’ (Romans 3:21-22)
This is vital for us to hold on to as we seek to apply this Beatitude. However, a true Christian will pursue righteous living. Here, ‘righteousness’ is about sanctification; it’s about our seeking to be free from sin and be more like Jesus in our lives.
Do you understand the difference between the perfect righteousness from God which is a gift of faith (justification) and that which grows in us as we cooperate with God (sanctification)?
Do you understand that you are called to live a righteous life that represents Christ is this world?
Is there any area of compromise that the Holy Spirit wants you to work on?
On Sunday, Nev encouraged us to examine ourselves: how is your appetite for spiritual growth?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - BLESSED ARE THE SPIRITUALLY HUNGRY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
If you were really hungry, what would you most like to eat?
Introduction - please share in your group
This week in our discipleship series, we are considering the forth of the Beatitudes,
'"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6)