Matthew 5:6 Elucidation

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Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.Matthew 5:6

What Does It Mean to Hunger and Thirst After Something?

To hunger and thirst after something is somewhat of an abstract idea. We can't eat or drink ideals any more than we can eat the physical muscular mass of Jesus Christ or drink his blood. No, the saying simply means to seek something with a voracious attitude. A starving man will steal from a grocery store, despite all sorts of barriers and detriments being put up to prevent such a thing. But of course, that starving man will eventually stop being hungry and thirsty when he dies, as he'll have nothing to fill up anymore. The same too will be the case with those of us who hunger and thirst.

What Is Righteousness? Back to Top ↑

When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John initially didn't want to. But Jesus said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.Matthew 3:15b And so we learn that righteousness is something to be fulfilled. We also see that righteousness is a possession. David one wrote, Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness.Psalm 4:1 David had his own righteousness.

Most people have an idea of what righteousness is in their head. Does your conception of righteousness meet these two biblical conditions? John the Baptist, even though he doubted Jesus,(Matthew 11:2-3.) also came in the way of righteousness, and this righteousness was something for all to repent towards.(Matthew 21:32.) But of course, the Pharisees had their own righteousness(Matthew 5:20.) and would not leave it to take up John's.

So what exactly is righteousness? It's a man's personal belief of what he must be or do to be found worthy of God. This is why Jesus said, For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:20 The scribes and Pharisees, even for all their showing, were not righteous enough for the kingdom of heaven. But yet Lazarus, a poor beggar who was too weak to fend off the dogs who licked his sores,(Luke 16:21.) was carried away by angels when he died.(Luke 16:22.) Who was more righteous? The Pharisees or Lazarus?

It's a bit of a trick question. They both had their own righteousness. The Pharisees righteousness was of their own making, while Lazarus had God's righteousness. The rich man whose gate Lazarus laid outside of also had his own righteousness too, but he was found unworthy and sent to hell.(Luke 16:22-23.)

This also answers whose righteousness these starving and thirsty people should seek: God's. If you have another righteousness, then there is no room for God's. That is why Jesus said, For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Matthew 9:13b

Why Shall People Who Hunger and Thirst for God’s Righteousness Be Filled? Back to Top ↑

Jesus said, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33 Just as a starving man will seek to eat something before doing anything else, so too will those who hunger after righteousness seek God and his righteousness before worrying about their livelihoods.(Which is what the whole passage is about. Matthew 6:24-34.) Those that do this fulfil God's will, which is simply for us to be raised up at the last day.(John 6:39-40.)

It is simply by putting aside our own righteousness and taking up God's righteousness that we can be found worthy to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This was, of course, Jesus's whole message when he said, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Matthew 4:17b cf. Mark 1:15 We're repenting from all those things that God cannot tolerate in Heaven, and taking on his mantle so that we may enter into the kingdom.

The righteousness and our entrance into heaven are one and the same. Without God's righteousness, we may be invited to the kingdom, but we will not be found worthy. In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, a man was invited to come to the wedding, but he came without a garment. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.Matthew 22:11-14 This garment symbolizes someone who is doing the will of God.

Many are called to God, we can open up any map and search in "church" to see the truth of this plainly, but those that do not have God's righteousness will not be chosen. Jesus told us very plainly, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 7:21 If you don't do the will of God, you will not be in the kingdom of Heaven.

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