Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Today we look at the next beatitude. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is a interesting one because I think that close to no one understood what Jesus was talking about at first try. Hunger and thirst was a experience common to many, but righteousness, that was a different situation all together. Let’s set the scene again for our lesson today. In one part of the crowd you have the Pharisee, they are well cared for, fed, clean, and happy. They also consider themselves righteous before God, and especially men. On the other side of the crowd, you have this conglomeration of men and women who are in various levels of wealth and poverty, but more than likely there were a majority of poor people, who were well acquainted with not having their physical needs met. Hunger and thirst was something that many had an acute understanding of.
Now remember I said that the Pharisees considered themselves righteous before men. This was really at the core of everything they did. Look good to others. Make sure others know how good I am. Now without raising your hand, think about this, do I know anyone like this, or am I this person? Anyone who has ever tried to put on a mask for someone else, knows that it really is just a mask.
Why do you think the Pharisees tried so hard to look good? A: Because they knew they were rotten.
I want to make a case for you this morning that this righteousness Jesus is describing, has nothing to do with what we do. Now that may cause you to wonder a bit because the Bible is full of commands is it not? Are we held to a standard? Are we given choices about how we will live? I am here to say that we ALL fall immeasurably short of God’s standard, in fact we are on a rocket ship away from it.
There is a word I’d like to use to describe our condition without Christ. Depravity. (A corrupt or degenerate act or practice.)
says “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
The prophet Isaiah, is giving what we could call a categorical indictment of the human race. Meaning this is a accurate and truthful description of the entire human condition.
And then in Romans 20
This was an old Testament description of the human condition, and Paul reaffirms it in the New Testament when he says in As it is written,
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”
13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,”
“THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;
14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;
15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”
This is a key verse that supports what many Christians call “Total Depravity”, this is not a term found in Scripture, but a term used to describe an overarching theme that can be found throughout Scripture. The Trinity is a similar term. We don’t find the word Trinity used anywhere in the Bible, but it is a term that has been universally adopted amongst believers to describe a truth that is found throughout Scripture.
This is a key verse that supportds
So what IS Total Depravity? Total Depravity is the state of complete slavery to sin, with no desire or ability to seek God or salvation on your own. Another key supporting passage of this is , “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”. , , , , , . Each and every one of these verses makes it abundantly clear that the position man is in is in Slavery to sin, without hope of an internal reformation or self made saving.
The Bible teaches that
Do you think that there is a scenario where we are not slaves to anything?
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
It’s a little bit of a trick question, because we are always slaves to something, the Bible makes this clear.
“Surrender” by Beautiful Eulogy 1:00 mark.
So here is where the good news kicks in, and where this ties back to the Beatitudes.
Who knows what the word Gospel means? What does the word mean?
It means Good News. Everything you are ever taught about God, or any religion you encounter should be weighed against the Gospel. What I mean by this is that if what you are being told does not compare with THE Gospel, then it is not good news at all. Let me give you an example. (Mormon Temple)
So, what is the Gospel?
God is the Gospel, and Christ is our way.
The righteousness of Christ is the most wonderful and crucial gift ever given to the believer. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but through me. God has made a way for sinners and slaves to sin to be redeemed to Himself. Now Paul describes this new life as slavery, but we are not just slaves, we are now co-heirs WITH Christ. This is beautifully articulated by Paul when he says in , “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
How does this NEW slavery sound? Is this good news? Are you starting to understand what this hunger and thirst is all about? Christ’s righteousness has been given to us, and it is our only hope of life. In an earthly, physical sense, if we don’t drink water, or eat food, we die! Pastor Jim recently challenged the congregation by asking, how often do we spiritually starve ourselves much longer than we could survive if we were not drinking water for the same amount of time?