Wednesday: Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

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Righteousness builds upon meekness
After meekness, there is a thirst and hunger for righteousness. Righteousness is not merely doing right and avoiding wrong. That is legalism. Without meekness, such a desire would only result in self-righteousness. Righteousness is right standing before God brought about by the righteousness of God and results in a continued path to blessed happiness.

The Righteousness of God
God’s righteousness is explained in Phil. 3:9. “And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Paul was righteous by the Law, but when judged by God, Paul’s righteousness fell short of God’s perfection.

We are to yearn not for our righteousness, but for God’s righteousness. Romans 1:17 says that the God’s righteousness is revealed by faith.

God’s rule says that sacrificial blood brings about forgiveness of sin. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Blood on the altar will make atonement for the soul. But not the blood of animals. Psalms 40:6 says, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.” Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”         

So whose blood? The blood of Christ. Hebrews 9:12 says, “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

So how can we know that God will keep His promise, to forgive us of our sins? By trusting that God is righteous. This is said again in Rom. 3:21-22a, 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”

The famous line of Rom. 3:23 is actually a dependent clause of a sentence explaining God’s righteousness is shown by faith:

We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. (New Living Translation)

We are saved because God is righteous. We hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness and to do otherwise is ignorant. Romans 10 says, 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Questions: Do you feel smug about how good you are compared to others? Are you looking at others’ sins rather than God’s righteousness?

The Righteousness of Christ
Jesus was the only one who was righteous in God’s sight. 2 Cor. 5:21 says Christ’s sacrifice made us righteous, even though we aren’t. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 1 Peter 3 also explains that Jesus, the just, died for us, the unjust, “18 Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” (NLT)

Only Christ fulfills the righteous requirements of the Law; only His blood on the altar is pure. Romans 8 says, 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Question: How are you affected by the “great exchange” of Christ becoming sin, even though He had none, so that we could have His righteousness, even though we have none?

The Righteousness of Man
After we hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness and when we know that we are only righteous in Christ, then we can truly long for our righteousness. But unlike a longing for food to satisfy ourselves, we should long to bear fruit. 2 Cor. 9 says:

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

After we are saved, we bear righteous fruit, as James 3:18 says, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Paul said in Eph 5:9, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” and again in Phil. 1:11 “being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
 
They shall be satisfied 
There is a verse that says “do not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9, NIV). If you are not feeling satisfied or filled in all you are doing, it may be because you are looking at the wrong things. Self-righteousness comes in comparison to others. Satisfying-righteousness looks to the harvest.

Question: What type of fruit do you bear? Are you doing good but with the wrong attitude? If you long for righteousness and are not filled, whose righteousness are you hungering and thirsting for?



Wednesday’s “Be-Attitude”
Kid’s Korner by Morgan Perry
When Jesus tells us we should “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” He wants us to crave a friendship with Him and God. He wants us to desire to know Him more than any other thing we can think of.
 
Tell me examples of how you want a friend to treat you.
 
How can you show God you love Him and want to be His friend?
 
 

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