Volume 19, Issue 3 (January 15, 2017)
Those Who Hunger for Righteousness
By Kyle Pope
During the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapters five through seven He offers a list of personal characteristics of those considered “blessed.” One characteristic in this list declares, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6, NKJV). Let’s notice three points from this regarding our walk with God:
1. God’s People Must Hunger to Know What is Right. Sadly few in our time are people with a true thirst to know what God’s word teaches is right. Many have either convinced themselves that they can know by their own intuition what is right, or they do not believe that there truly are things that are right (and thus things that are wrong). If we are to be pleasing to God me must recognize that His revelation offers us a true standard of right and wrong. God’s people must have a fervent craving to know and understand this standard.
2. God’s People Must Hunger to Do What is Right. Once a person comes to know what is right he comes to a crossroads. Will he follow what is right or retreat into ignorance and error? If we are to be pleasing to God we must want more than anything else to do what He commands. That is what it truly means to do what is right. The Holy Spirit teaches, “Let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil” (1 John 3:7-8a).
3. God’s People Must Hunger to Be Right with God. French philosopher, author, and journalist Albert Camus once rashly wrote, “The need to be right” is “the sign of a vulgar mind.” If he meant that in reference to a desire for self-glorification or the praise of man we might agree. If, instead, he was referring to a desire to guide one’s life in such a way as to avoid wrong, error, and sin there is absolutely nothing “vulgar” about that at all! We should desire to be able to stand before God forgiven of sins, having accepted His grace in obedience to the gospel of Christ, and thus being found in a condition in which we are right with God. The Bible makes it clear although it has always been true that, “It is God who justifies” (Rom. 8:33), He has set before us a path we must follow in order to receive this justification. The message of Christ is God’s way of making men and women right with Him unto the salvation of their souls (see Rom. 1:16-17). This message must be believed and obeyed (Rom. 10:16; 2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17). There is no other way to be right with God, and God’s people must hunger and thirst to follow the path by which God provides this righteousness.
By Kyle Pope
Idon’t know why it is but many of us men don’t like to ask for directions. We want to look like we know where we are going. I’m sure that some women may feel the same way, but I don’t know how many stories I have heard about men driving for hours, refusing to look at a map, ask for directions, or use a GPS. This became a joke between my wife and I after our honeymoon when I drove for hours looking for a road (as it turned out) that wasn’t there! It may be simple pride that causes us to refuse to look to that which could offer direction.
This is one thing if we are talking about driving directions and geography, but does this ever spill over into the way we view spiritual things? The Bible teaches that the message of Jesus Christ offers us the direction we need to travel through this life toward the world to come. Who of us by our own knowledge has the slightest notion how to make it through this journey without the revelation and guidance offered by God’s word?
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, NKJV). The ancient world recognized the direction the gospel of Christ offered to the world. They called the Christian movement “The Way” (Acts 19:23; 24:14). The apostles proclaimed, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Are you looking to Jesus for direction through His word? Are you following its course and clinging to its guidance? Or, instead have you chosen to proudly try to find your way alone? Let me tell you friend, the grave is an uncharted wilderness filled with unimaginable dangers and perils for those who venture into it alone! Don’t let foolish pride leave you without direction. Follow “the way” offered by Him who is “the way, the truth, and the life.”