RIGHTEOUSNESS: WHAT IS IT?
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6). The Bible truth
is that man needs more than food and drink to sustain his
life. He needs spiritual nutrition for his soul. That's why
Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew
4:4). He also said, "Do not labor for the food which
perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting
life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the
Father has set His seal on Him" (John 6:27).
Man is not just a mere animal with physical necessities. We
are the special creation of God, made in His image and
likeness, equipped with spiritual, emotional and physical
needs and desires. We need an intimate relationship with
God our Creator and this comes through Jesus Christ.
reminds us of the TV
scenes of starving immigrants who flee some drought, civil
unrest, or political upheaval with only the clothes on
their back. They work or travel in oppressive heat while
their little children's bones seem to protrude through
their tight skin and their bellies bloat up with parasites.
Most of us don't have a clue what real starvation feels
like. What a joy it is for these refugees to find abundant
food and water!
People are searching for something in life that satisfies
their desires and needs. They are hungry and thirsty but
not only for bread and water. They want things, material
possessions, close relationships, meaning for life and
peace. They want to be happy. There is, though, a more
vital hunger that God wants us to experience and always
stands ready to satisfy. It is hunger and thirst for
righteousness. Remembering that "blessed" is sometimes
translated "happy", notice what Jesus did not say. He
didn't say that those who seek happiness will be happy.
Instead, he said that those who seek righteousness will be
happy. Those who seek God and His will, those who want to
think and act rightly, will find happiness.
Often, the folks who are hungry and thirsty try to satisfy
their desires in the wrong way. A child arrives at school
hungry and fills up on candy, but when lunchtime comes
around he doesn't want to eat anymore. So it is that many
who try to satisfy their desires with material things, like
alcohol, drugs, sex, various amusements and unspiritual
pleasures, discover that they don't find lasting joy. Jesus
showed us the path to true satisfaction, contentment and
fulfillment in life. Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A thousand years before he was born, it was prophesied of
Jesus: "You love righteousness and hate wickedness" (Psalm
45:7). It was also prophesied that:" With righteousness He
shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of
the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His
mouth and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the
wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and
faithfulness the belt of His waist" .
Jesus is our best example of righteousness, but do you know
what righteousness is? It is the same thing as justice,
only on a personal level. It is not just treating others
fairly or rightly but also doing right yourself. In his
life here, Christ treated people fairly, did what was
right, judged evil and defended the innocent. His
righteousness includes retribution for evil committed. He
is a just judge who is involved in the fight between good
and evil. In this sense he is not impartial. He wants good
to prevail over evil. Jesus loves what is right but hates
what is wrong. It ought to be important for us to know that
Jesus always did and will always do what is right.
Jesus Christ, the righteous One, always did what God
wanted. Even the thief on the cross had to confess: "we are
condemned justly, for we receive the due reward of our
deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong" (Luke 23:41).
Because he was righteous, he could say: "Satan has no claim
on me" (John 14:30). He always did what was right before
God. He showed his righteousness when he expelled the
moneychangers from the temple. He could not allow people to
turn his Father's house into a den of thieves .
Jesus never rejected a person because of his past mistakes
nor abandoned truth
for traditions that would deny help to the needy
. He gave honor to
his companions and shared the
truth with others . In every
word and deed, Jesus showed us the perfect example of what
it means to be righteous.
Jesus is our example of maturity . He is the source
of our strength and fruit . As he did, we must
desire the fellowship of the family of God , feeding
ourselves on the Word of God , sharing our
possessions with others . We must obey
God instead of men . This is the life that
Jesus revealed to us.
Christ's righteousness is also seen in his role of Judge.
"God has established a day when He will judge the world
with righteousness through Jesus" ( Acts 17:31) . When he
comes in judgment, he will divide the sheep from the goats.
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that each one may receive the things done in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad"
. What will the
Righteous Judge say to you on that day?
Jesus so emphasized the absolute necessity of righteousness
in our lives that he said: "Unless your righteousness
exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you
will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew
5:20). He then proceeded to explain how to practice this
righteousness. See some things he pointed out in the Sermon
on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) that are involved in a
1. Be merciful
2. Be pure
3. Make peace
4. Illuminate the
5. Control your
6. Control your
7. Be faithful in
8. Be honest
9. Consider the well
being of others
10. Love your
11. Serve God from
12. Forgive others
13. Don't be
14. Seek God and His
15. Don't be
hypocritical in judgment
16. Value holy
17. Treat others the
way you want to be treated
18. Obey Christ
The Christian life
is a life of righteousness, good works, and obedience
and even more, these works have to be done for pure
motives. Jesus said in for us to not
practice our righteousness to be seen by people. All we
do we should do before God to please Him, knowing that
He will reward us.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Have you ever
deceived someone on purpose but did not repent of doing
2. Is there anyone
in your life that you refuse to forgive?
3. Are you
constantly making decisions based on "What would Jesus
do in my place?"
4. Do you concern
yourself with widows, orphans and the poor?
5. Are you
strengthening your spiritual life with prayer, Bible
study and fellowship with the church?
6. Do you think you
deserve God's favor because of your good
7. Do you judge
people by their clothes, language, race or
8. Do you think that
a criminal can become a good person and important in
the kingdom of God?