The Fourth Beatitude
Bible Facts Newspaper Article (Ian C. Kurylyk)
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
This beatitude pronounces the blessing of God upon people with a passion, a deep desire for righteousness. Righteousness might be defined as the right ways of God. Righteousness involves an inward heart-conformity to God’s laws and is proven by practical obedience to the righteousness of the Bible. Righteousness is that which is like God, that which is approved by God, and that which God blesses. Everybody has a purpose and passion of life. Many hunger and thirst for the things of this life like money, applause, or pleasure. This scripture reveals that God’s blessing is assured to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
This beatitude suggests a certain perception of things on the part of the people who obtain the blessing. First they evidently believe nothing is more important that God’s blessing. They have much more than a casual passing interest. Second, they see an unbreakable link between God’s righteousness and God’s blessing. That is an important perception. Many people fail to see the whole truth. When they see great disasters or tragedies take place in the world they ask where God is. Some are prone to believe that there is no God because they are not witnessing His blessings. The truth is that man’s unrighteousness and sin has robbed us of God’s blessings and made us vulnerable to suffering and death throughout the whole human race. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). The absence of God’s blessing in a situation in no way implies He does not exist. We need to consider the basis for His blessing, the issue of righteousness.
The fourth beatitude also suggests a certain perspective, a way of looking at things. It is a perspective of honesty about shortcoming. To hunger and thirst after righteousness means we realize we have not arrived. If God’s blessing is connected to righteousness then we would be foolish to pretend to having what God knows we do not. We need God to provide what we cannot. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only solution to the problem we face. He died to pay for our crimes against God’s Law and rose again to demonstrate that the debt was paid in full. God offers us righteousness in Him. The believer in Jesus Christ has the acceptance of a righteousness man through God’s Son. “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44:22). This is the beginning and basis for all blessing. The new life He gives is passionate for righteousness and hungers and thirsts after God each day.
The promise of this beatitude is in the personal realization of what is hungered for. “They shall be filled.” The assurance of blessing is the assurance that righteousness is obtained by those who hunger and thirst after it. This is not the person who stops short by being content with his own self righteousness. We also need to understand that there is no such promise to other passions. You may hunger for money and remain poor. You may live for popularity but be despised by many. But God will not withhold His blessings for those who respond to His invitation through His Son. If you truly seek after God He is willing to be found. The promises of God for eternal life itself are sure in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.