One of the greatest unfulfilled desires that humanity has is for righteousness in the form of salvation and justice. This generation may know that child abuse is wrong but they cannot objectively prove its wrong- its just an opinion. When they look inside themselves and see they’ve failed at keeping their own moral standards they’re left hungry for change but only filled with temporary behavioral modifications. Consequently, the Bible teaches that Jesus and His righteousness is the only permanent and genuine solution for man’s inner hungry for justice and personal salvation. First, everyone’s basic moral sense of righteousness and justice is grounded in the eternal Logos (John 1:1) and second, Jesus is the only one that can truly make the unrighteous righteous.
Matthew 5:1-10, “1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Disciples: Committed learners and students of Jesus Christ.
- Sermon on the Mount: The longest single portion of Jesus’ teaching found in Matthew 5-7 that serves as the foundation of Christian morality and spiritual practice.
- Beatitudes: From the Latin word, “beatitudo,” means, “the blissful, happy, and blessed sayings of Jesus.”
- Blessed: From “beatus” in Latin, means “to be spiritually happy and successful because of God’s favor upon one’s life.” Also, the term “blessed” has to do with God’s divine approval of one’s life resulting in His favor.
- Kingdom of Heaven: The active rule and reign of Jesus in one’s life and upon the earth with kingdom blessings, v. 3 & v. 10. Notice that Jesus teaches the kingdom of heaven is currently given to the disciple, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” not, “for they will have the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
HUNGER & THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
- The phrase “hunger & thirst” is used by Jesus in a poetic sense to show how powerful the longing for righteousness should be.
- Just like how someone starving would hunger for food or suffering from dehydration would thirst for water, we should strongly yearn for God’s righteousness.
- Righteousness literally means the right and just ways of God.
- God primarily displays His righteousness in two ways; (1) Salvation: Through Jesus, the Father makes sinners righteous, 1 Corinthians 1:30. (2) Justice: Through Jesus, God brings His justice to the earth, Revelation 15:3.
- Psalm 98:1-10 & Revelation 19:11-13 give great insight to God’s salvation and judgement revealed through Jesus.
WILL BE FILLED
- “To be filled” means to be fully satisfied.
- Those who hunger and thirst for Christ’s righteousness will be completely filled with His character and will see His justice fill the earth, 2 Peter 3:13.
QUESTIONS FOR ATHEISTS & AGNOSTICS
1. At certain times do you sense disappoint in yourself due to inconsistency to your own standards of right thinking and behaving?
(a) How do you explain this inner sense of conviction?
(b) Just using science within the context of evolution can you explain your disappointment?
2. Do you have a desire for justice in this life?
(a) How do you explain this desire?
(b) Without appealing to God can you give an objective reason for human justice, equality, and fairness?
“Is there a God? No. What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. What is the meaning of life? Ditto. Why am I here? Just dumb luck. Does prayer work? Of course not. Is there a soul? Is it immortal? Are you kidding? Is there free will? Not a chance! What happens when we die? Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us. What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them. Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral. Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes.”
“If you still can’t sleep at night, even after accepting science’s answers to the persistent questions, you probably just need one more little thing… Take a Prozac or your favorite serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and keep taking them till they kick in,” Alex Rosenberg, “The Atheist Guide to Reality.”
QUESTIONS FOR BELIEVERS IN CHRIST
1. Do you believe that when a person is born again they are truly made righteous, holy, and perfect in their soul & spirit?
(a) If you don’t believe a Christian is truly holy and perfected when they’re saved, then how do you explain what it means to be a “new creation” according to 2 Corinthians 5:17-21?
(b) For those who believe you are the holiness, righteous, and perfection of God in Christ, sharing in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), do you live like it according to 1 John 3:9?
2. Do you work towards bringing God’s justice upon the earth- ending abortion, sex trafficking, racism, economic oppression, and poverty?
(a) If you’re not hungry for God’s justice upon the earth do you admit its because you’re full of the world’s pleasures?
(b) If you are bringing God’s justice to this earth through prayer and good deeds are you doing it full of God’s love and strength?
“These people hunger and thirst, not only that they may be righteous (i.e., that they may wholly do God’s will from the heart), but that justice may be done everywhere. All unrighteousness grieves them and makes them homesick for the new heaven and earth– the home of righteousness, 2 Peter 3:13. Satisfied with neither personal righteousness alone nor social justice alone, they cry for both: in short, they long for the advent of the messianic kingdom. What they taste now whets their appetites for more. Ultimately they will be satisfied (same verb as in 14:20; Philippians 4:12; Rev 19:21) without qualification only when the kingdom is consummated,” Gundry.