“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6 ESV)
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provided a panoramic journey for those who are members of the kingdom of heaven. The passage for sinners began with an awareness of their spiritual poverty, a mourning over their sin, resulting in a sincere and profound humility. Respectively, the spiritually poor become citizens of the kingdom, the mourners are comforted and meek inherit the earth. The first beatitude leads to the second, and the second to third; and so on.
Following spiritual poverty, mourning and meekness comes hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Hungering (πεινάω; peinaō) is a present, active participle referring to an individual believer’s earnest desire and appetite for righteousness. Thirsting (διψάω; dipsaō) is also a present, active participle meaning to desire and crave righteousness. Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη; dikaiosynē) refers to a divine righteousness that is imputed to the sinner by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Rom. 3:21-26). This is the result of repentance and faith in Christ.
“This is the opposite of the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. It speaks of those who seek God’s righteousness rather than attempting to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:9). What they seek will fill them, i.e., it will satisfy their hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God,” explains Dr. John MacArthur.
The promise God gives that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. To be filled (χορτάζω; chortazō) means to be satisfied. This filling is a contentment, a fulfillment and a gratification in Christ that the world does not understand or want. In fact, the world hates individuals who possess this filling from the Lord.
“To hunger for righteousness is to yearn for God’s rule in our lives (Matt. 6:33). It is to have a thirst for God’s Word and for the company of the godly. In Scripture, righteousness has several aspects.
First, there is the personal righteousness, which we just stressed. This hunger leads us to uproot our sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and be-come more like Jesus. This is sanctification,” explains commentator Daniel Doriani.
“But since our quest for righteousness always falls short, we think next of the righteousness of Christ, bestowed when we believe in Him. This is justification. Justification confers legal righteousness, so believers can stand before God the Judge on the last day. Justification wipes away all sin and guilt, whatever our level of sanctification.”
“Third, disciples long for social righteousness, for God’s cleansing of society. Hunger for righteousness leads disciples to promote God’s cause in business, education, politics, and more. Further, we look to the day of Jesus’ return, when He will set creation right, Satan will be overthrown, and God’s righteousness will cover the earth,” concludes Doriani.
Have you encountered this filling from God that completely satisfies your spiritual hunger and thirst? Such filling is found solely in Christ.
Soli deo Gloria!