Saturday, December 02, 2023

2023.12.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 5:6

Read Matthew 5:6

Questions from the Scripture text: Who are blessed in Matthew 5:6? For what do they hunger? What else do they do for righteousness? What will be done for them?

What difference does Christ make in the heart of a believer? Matthew 5:6 prepares us for the morning sermon on the Lord’s Day. In this verse of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Christ changes the objects of a believer’s hunger and thirst, while feeding the believer and guaranteeing his full satisfaction.

There was a contentedness with God in the meekness of Matthew 5:5, but we remember from Matthew 5:4 that it is accompanied by a holy discontentedness with ourselves. In this life, we simply are not righteous like we ought to be (and neither are others toward us). If our hunger and thirst is for righteousness, we will be constantly hungry and thirsty (Matthew 5:6a)! This simply isn’t the new heavens and earth in which righteousness dwells (cf. 2 Peter 3:13). 

Formed. The blessed man has been given a new, holy nature. He is both set apart by God and brought out of himself and into Christ (cf. Romans 6:3–4, Romans 8:16–17). This is sometimes called positional sanctification. Though his sin remains in him (cf. Romans 7:17–23), he is not in his sin. The Spirit of God leads him in a life that is against his remaining sin (cf. Romans 8:9–14). All of this means that the believer has had a “hunger and thirst” transplant. Everyone is hungry for something. And now the believer hungers and thirsts for righteousness—both in his own character and in the whole heavens and earth. The believer longs that both he, and all creation, would be as Christ is rightfully owed that they would be.

Fed. If we think of positional sanctification as being formed, then we might think of progressive sanctification as being fed. The blessed man has already found Christ to be fully satisfying. And Christ, Who is perfectly righteous in Himself, more and more works out that righteousness in the character and conduct of the Christian. As the hunger that He gives us corresponds to the work that He does in us, we enjoy the goodness of Christ all our life long. He feeds our hunger.

Filled! This hunger and thirst won’t just be fed. It will be satisfied. Positional sanctification and progressive sanctification always end in glorification. The work completed in us. The resurrection, together with a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells. Never again sinning and never again sinned against.

But there is also a filling that is in the present. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness find that Christ Himself is satisfying already. We even praise God that He is completely satisfied with us in Christ. 

But there is also a filling that is in the future. God, Who loves us with adopting love, is not satisfied to leave us as we are. He is determined to conform us to the image of His Son (cf. Romans 8:29).  Therefore, we are not satisfied to remain as we are. Trying to live in a manner that is content with remaining sin is a common mistake of our antinomian age. But the promise in Matthew 5:6 is set in the future. They shall be filled. Our happiness is forward-looking to glory. 

Here is a marvelous guarantee: we in whom the Spirit has created this hunger shall ultimately be filled. The work that He has begun in us WILL be completed (cf. Philippians 1:6). We WILL be conformed to Christ’s image (cf. Romans 8:29–30). And even as we purify ourselves as He is pure, we are doing this precisely because we have that assured hope that we will be like Him (cf. 1 John 3:2–3).

In what ways do you find yourself hungry and thirsty for righteousness? How should your hunger and thirst respond to Christ Himself? When have you enjoyed this satisfaction recently? How will you aim to be enjoying it? How should your hunger and thirst respond to your current progress in sanctification? How have you been doing so? How do you intend to do so? How should your hunger and thirst respond to your remaining sin? How have you been doing so? How do you intend to do so? How should your hunger and thirst respond to the world as it currently is? How will you pray, if you desire the world to be filled with righteousness? What are you doing unto that end?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for giving us Christ’s own desire for righteousness. Thank You for the grace by which You are feeding that hunger in our lives by growth in holiness. And thank You for the certainty that when You have finished Your work in us, we shall be perfectly righteous. Grant that we would continue to hunger until You have filled us, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH464 “The Beatitudes”

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