Session #029 Just In Time
Scripture Matthew 5:6
Summary When Jesus, the King of Righteousness, speaks about hungering and thirsting for righteousness, we must most certainly take heed. From Matt 5:6, Henson teaches about righteousness and what it means for believers beyond the receiving of the gift of righteousness by faith. If you have never heard a teaching on righteousness, don’t miss this.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
When Israel came out of Egypt, they were hungry and thirsty. It was a picture of their great need for God who alone sustains them at the Wilderness of Shur where bitter water was made sweet at Marah (Exodus 15:22-27) and at the Wilderness of Sin where God gave manna and quails (Exodus 16). Hungering and thirsting for God is a basic spiritual need. Sadly, we hunger and thirst after the things of the world in our attempt to fill ourselves, like a broken cistern, ending in meaningless pursuits. See our great need for God. We need His help not merely for help’s sake. We need help because of the unrighteousness that prevails in this age. We need His righteousness. As such, to hunger and thirst for God is to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
What is Righteousness?
You cannot hunger for something you do not understand. “Dike” is a certain standard; expected behaviour. “Dikaios” means right, righteous or just. “Dikaiosune” is righteousness, just-ness or justice; the state of being morally right or justifiable according to an accepted standard. Righteousness is about standards. The need to determine the “accepted standard” and not just any standard. God’s Righteousness is THE standard. God’s Righteousness is synonymous with His Law and Truth (Psalm 119:142). Even Gentiles who do not have the Law, “by nature do the things of the law” and “although not having the law, are a law to themselves” Romans 2:14. The law reveals sin and condemns all in unrighteousness. There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10.
The Gospel of the Kingdom
“So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” (Romans 1:15–19)
Why did Paul need to preach the gospel to the believers again? Weren’t they already saved? The King of Righteousness invites all into His kingdom of Righteousness. Why? Because alternative kingdoms are all ruled by unrighteousness (or our own idea of what righteousness is) and that is bad news. We need to be saved from unrighteousness into His righteousness. The gospel of the kingdom is first and foremost about Righteousness and Unrighteousness. Salvation is moving from Unrighteousness into Righteousness. Biblically, the concepts of salvation and righteousness are closely connected. Our tendency to emphasize salvation but not righteousness (no one likes to be told they are wrong). God reveals His righteousness, apart from the law, through faith in Jesus Christ. Sin is judged and the penalty is paid. All that is required is faith to believe in the work of Jesus upon the Cross and righteousness is imputed.
The Extent for the Good News of the kingdom: It goes beyond salvation…
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18
The Way of Righteousness is led by the Holy Spirit. The Word of Righteousness is grounded on the Word of God. What about the Works of Righteousness? But I thought I am righteous already? Is there a need to do anything? We do not work to be righteous (Titus 3:5). But because we are now righteous in Christ, we will do works of righteousness.
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you now that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” 1 John 2:28-29
“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.” 1 John 3:7
“that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)
When we are hungry for righteousness, we will be hungry to do His will.
But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:32–38)
Kingdom assignments are works of righteousness. We have individualised and personalised salvation and faith so much that we have lost our voice in the world. Rights have gone wrong. The Christian concept to protect human dignity from forms of oppression, founded on the principle that everyone is made in the image of God (imago dei). Over time, this has shifted to refer to personal rights and freedom, to mean “I get to do what I want to do when I want to do it and how I want to do it.” Today, rights are being used to justify unrighteousness.
Gender Rights and Equality
Freedom to love
Same Sex Marriage
Male and Female
My right to choose
My right to protect personal freedom, career, lifestyle, etc
Non-discipline of children
Protecting a child’s right
Freedom to speak and exercise their minds
Diversity and Tolerance
Freedom of Speech and Will
Agree with me
But I won’t agree with you
Decisions carry Consequences
The yardstick of Righteousness will rule in the end, not rights.
It is all about me and my rights
I decide and live for myself only
I ignore the poor and needy
God and Community
Sin of Omission: When I was hungry and thirsty
Protecting someone’s rights
Trying to make things right
Makes me feel righteous and good
These alone do not save
But those who are saved will be moved to do these things.
Pursuing and enforcing personal rights and agendas.
Divorce: my right to be happy and free
Mutual love and submission, out of obedience and reverence to God.
I am right, I am older, more senior, know more, smarter, more talented, been here longer, I like, etc.
Forgive. Extend mercy and grace. live peaceably. Love.
Stealing at Work and Marketplace
I deserve to take from company because of how hard I work
The company won’t notice it
Angry with my pay
I agreed to the terms and conditions
Surprised? No. Lawlessness will abound in the last days. But we are still to be trees of righteousness in the midst of unrighteousness. Righteousness is scarce and that is why we hunger and thirst for it.
Righteousness Amidst Unrighteousness
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, But at the end, it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:2–4
What comes after this is an explanation of the proud and the unrighteous in v5-19. Woe to him is mentioned five times.
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition but of those who believe in the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:35–39).
If a believer draws back, the Lord has no pleasure in him. The context helps us understand the place and plight of the righteous and how they are called to live by their faith and to live out their faith. Habakkuk asked how long? The Hebrews writer exhorts us to have faith and hope. The vision of the coming of the Lord is “it will not tarry”, it will be JUST IN TIME. In the meantime, the challenges and difficulties caused by unrighteousness will produce the FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. You may not see it yet, but keep praising and trusting the Lord.
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labour of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments. Habakkuk 3:17–19
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
The word “filled” is better translated as “satisfied” (ESV/NASB) or “satiated”. There is no point in craving for coffee and ending up with bad coffee. No point in being full but not satisfied. All you have is indigestion. Very uncomfortable. Not a state of blessedness but a state of bloatedness. The promise is that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be satisfied with God’s righteousness. Living right does not mean you will never be wronged. Blessed are the persecuted for righteousness’ sake (final beatitude).In the absence of righteousness, you can either hunger and thirst for righteousness, or you can give up.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).
Jesus, the King of Righteousness invites all to Blessedness. Our cravings can never be fulfilled by the things of the world. Look to the King of Righteousness, seek His rule and reign and His righteousness. Righteousness is an acquired taste, your “taste buds” will change as you grow. We begin to hunger and to thirst after righteousness a lot more. Unrighteousness is glaring and becomes really obvious. Practise Righteousness in your life, marriage, family, workplace, society, etc. Be the righteousness of God amidst unrighteousness: What is the Lord saying to you? Can you begin to see and receive your kingdom assignments? It is not outward righteousness or condemning righteousness (pharisaical righteousness, Matthew 5:20), but merciful and gracious righteousness, sincere righteousness, and peaceable righteousness. Get ready for push-backs and even persecution. It will not be easy but you are blessed, knowing that it will be JUST in His time.