The Sermon on The Mount – Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 6

April 21, 2007 § Leave a comment

Mat 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

And so the first three “beatitudes”, of verses 3-5, brings us to this text. Here we see that the glorious and inevitable result, of experiencing one’s utter destitution (i.e. poverty of spirit), and mourning over one’s exceeding sinfulness, which causes the soul of such a man to see himself as truly lowly and humbled before his Holy God, thus recognizing his utter dependence upon Christ for his salvation and life, is to then hunger and thirst for the righteousness that is revealed in the law of the kingdom. Such a one as this can only be satisfied by the “bread from heaven” (John 6:33&35).

Our satisfaction comes first in the glorious truth of the imputed righteousness we have, upon being united to Christ by faith. Knowing that, as citizens of the kingdom of heaven, our sin has been placed upon Christ and that he has accomplished a complete satisfaction of the justice of God by his substitutionary suffering of the wrath of God, i.e. the death which we, as fallen sinners, so deserve.

But, our hunger and thirst goes beyond this, for we also passionately desire that our lives also reflect the glory of our Lord, as the law of the kingdom is written upon our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit, and so we hunger and thirst to be conformed to his very image, having our hope in the promise that he will be faithful to make us like himself.

We who know our poverty, who mourn over sin, who are humbled before God, can no longer find any satisfaction in ourselves nor the world, but have become as the Apostle Paul, counting all things as loss in light of the worth of Christ, we despair of our own righteousness that comes by our own efforts at obeying the law, but will be satisfied only with the righteousness of God that comes by faith in Christ (Phil. 3:8&9). The kingdom of heaven becomes to us, as citizens thereof, a treasure and a pearl of such worth that we with joy sell all that we have to possess the life found therein (Matt. 13:44-46).

Just as with the previous “beatitudes”, so this one also, is a repetition of that which is found in the old covenant, the promise of which is so gloriously fulfilled in the new covenant. Here again, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary is quite instructive on this verse.

“But, in so comprehensive a saying as this, it is clearly to be taken – as in Mat_5:10 also – in a much wider sense, as denoting that spiritual and entire conformity to the law of God, under the want of which the saints groan, and the possession of which constitutes the only true saintship. The Old Testament dwells much on this righteousness, as that which alone God regards with approbation (Psa_11:7; Psa_23:3; Psa_106:3; Pro_12:28; Pro_16:31; Isa_64:5, etc.). As hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, our Lord, by employing this figure here, plainly means “those whose deepest cravings are after spiritual blessings.” And in the Old Testament we find this craving variously expressed: “Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord” (Isa_51:1); “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord,” exclaimed dying Jacob (Gen_49:18); “My soul,” says the sweet Psalmist, “breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times” (Psa_119:20): and in similar breathings does he give vent to his deepest longings in that and other Psalms. Well, our Lord just takes up here – this blessed frame of mind, representing it as – the surest pledge of the coveted supplies, as it is the best preparative, and indeed itself the beginning of them. “They shall be saturated,” He says; they shall not only have what they so highly value and long to possess, but they shall have their fill of it.”

Our deepest hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God is indeed satisfied in our new covenant communion with Christ, in our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. For we have come not the the mountain that cannot be touched for fear, but we have come to sit down, with Christ and be taught of him the life of the kingdom of heaven, on Mount Zion!

So let us pray with David, this prayer of Psalm 17:13-15.

Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. Amen.

Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West


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