From the book: Sermon on the Mount. Vol. 1

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Sermon on the Mount, #6
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SPIRITUAL HUNGER AND THIRST

Sermon #34

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled," MAT 5:6.

The beatitudes are the steps that lead us into the temple, which is the body of Christ. Each beatitude specifically identifies a definite character trait in those who have the work of grace in their hearts.

The first beatitude speaks of spiritual poverty. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," MAT 5:3. The second beatitude speaks of penitence. "Blessed are they that mourn," MAT 5:4. Penitence is an essential element of the character of one who possesses grace. The third beatitude speaks of meekness. "Blessed are the meek," MAT 5:5. Our text is the fourth beatitude which speaks of spiritual hunger and thirst. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness," MAT 5:6.

Each one of the seven beatitudes rise above the one that precedes it. The beatitudes are as the steps of a staircase that lead into the temple. No man ever becomes hungry and thirsty after righteousness until he is convinced of his spiritual poverty. The spiritual poverty of the first beatitude must be experienced before the hunger and thirst of the fourth beatitude can be experienced. Until one learns to see the spiritual poverty of unrighteousness and the depravity of our fallen nature, there is no hunger and thirst after righteousness.

As we learn to understand the spiritual poverty there is in unrighteousness, we begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness. As we learn to see the fallen condition in which we are, we become one of those blessed mourners who mourn over the sinfulness of our sins. The knowledge of our sins is the root from which meekness grows, and this knowledge results in a true hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

We will never hunger and thirst after righteousness until we have learned to mourn over sin. Until we understand the sinfulness of sin and mourn over it, we won't have a hunger and thirsting after Christ. We won't have a hungering and thirsting for the righteousness which was lost in the garden of Eden. We will never long for the righteousness given to those who inherit eternal life until we understand mourning over sin.

Fallen man will never have a desire to seek these things until he has been brought to true meekness before God. Until the old man of sin has been crucified, we will never put the Lord or our fellow man ahead of ourselves; we will not understand what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

A man will never hunger and thirst after righteousness until he has ceased to hunger and thirst after perishable things. By nature we hunger and thirst after the things of this world. We may hunger and thirst after some attainment in life. We thirst after education or hunger for an important position. As long as these things gratify the heart, we cannot serve the Lord. We cannot serve two gods. As long as we cherish the idols of our silver and gold, they will have control of our heart. As long as we still pursue the things of this world, we will never experience true hunger and thirst after righteousness.

In an earlier message I spoke of how "THE MIRAGE SHALL BECOME A POOL." This life is such a mirage, i.e., an optical illusion. Many things stand before us and look as though they will satisfy us. We do not realize, however, what an empty place was created by our fall in Adam when the image of God was taken away. That loss has created a vacuum that cannot be truly filled and satisfied by anything less than the image of God.

Our natural hunger and thirst after temporal things will never satisfy the emptiness within us. Without the restoration of the image of God, our lives are but a mirage. All the things which we strive for and desire in this life are nothing but a mirage; when we reach them, we find them empty. As long as we are still running after a gold mine at the end of the rainbow, we have no true hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Until we have a felt sense of unrighteousness in our hearts, we will never have a true hunger and thirst after the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until we understand the pollution of sin, there is no desire to be washed in the fountain that was opened for all sin and unrighteousness. Before a true hunger and thirst after righteousness can emerge, we must learn to see that the fountain of our heart is corrupt. By nature our heart is filled with the things of this world.

True hunger for righteousness cannot be satisfied until we can stand righteous before God's bar of justice. Righteousness must be understood in a two-fold way. Our text speaks of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. To hunger for righteousness is to be able to stand just before God. 2CO 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." How can we understand that with human reasoning?

Until the Holy Spirit has convicted us of sin and God's wrath upon sin, we cannot understand what it means that Christ was made to be sin for us. Until we understand the sinfulness of sin and what it means to stand condemned before the bar of God's justice, we will never know what it is to truly hunger to be "...made the righteousness of God in him."

Thirsting after righteousness is desiring to be cleansed from the pollution of sin. If our only desire is to escape the consequences of sin, we have only a legal repentance. A true gospel repentance is to thirst after holiness. A true spiritual thirst after righteousness cannot be satisfied until we are cleansed from the pollution of sin.

If we have true spiritual conviction of sin, we see that our pollution in sin is most awesome because it separates us from God. We must understand what it means to be polluted in sin. Every thought, word, and deed is sinful before a holy and righteous God. Sin is exceeding sinful. We must see the pollution of sin before we will ever thirst after righteousness and desire to be cleansed from it.

1CO 1:30 says, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." If we have never felt the pollution of sin, what beauty would there be in such a blessed Redeemer, who is going to be our sanctification? Until we have learned to see how sin stands between us and the blessedness, holiness, and righteousness of God, we will never thirst after righteousness. We won't understand what it means that He is our redemption until we learn to see what we have to be redeemed from.

ISA 53:1-3 says, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." By nature we reject Him. We see no beauty in this redemption, sanctification, righteousness, and wisdom of Christ until we understand the pollution of sin. Only then will there be a hunger or thirst for righteousness.

Man enjoyed true blessedness before the fall of Adam through reflecting the image of God, i.e., perfect righteousness and true holiness. His heart was in perfect tune with the heart of the Father. His heart was in perfect submission and conformity to the will of God. Man enjoyed perfect righteousness and true holiness before the fall.

Believers, who look forward to true blessedness, shall find it is found only through being restored unto perfect righteousness and true holiness. This restoration becomes the hearts desire. The heart hungers and thirsts to be restored into that state of perfect righteousness and true holiness which man had before the fall.

In HEB 12:14 we read, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." When a man learns to understand that his own righteousness is only filthy rags, he sees that all of his thoughts, words, and deeds are nothing but sin before the Lord. Then he will understand that without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

The pollution of sin drives a living soul with a true hunger and thirst after righteousness because we see that unrighteousness separates us from God. No unclean thing can ever come into the presence of God. This creates such a striving, craving, and desire to be delivered from the pollution of sin. We crave to have sin washed and cleansed from our heart, soul, and mind.

As in Paradise, righteousness and true holiness are essential to blessedness. We cannot continue in sin and be truly happy. We are a polluted creature by nature. Our best righteousness is nothing but filthy rags. We see the pride boil up in our heart. We see the covetousness and hatred in our heart. We may strive and pray against all the seeds of corruption, but they are still there. We find that all of this still dwells within us. When the grace of God begins to work in our heart, we can understand what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Our first state of blessedness is gone, and the blessedness of perfection hereafter is not yet come. We were created in the image of God, but now that is gone. How can we be blessed in the interval which lies between the blessed state from which we fell and the blessed state that we hope to regain? The question that must come in our hearts is: Where do we stand between?

The blessedness lays in our text, MAT 5:6. The Lord looks at the heart and the desires. He said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." The Lord is looking at those who hunger and thirst with the new desire which He planted in the soul. This is where we can be blessed in the interval between the time when we were in perfect righteousness before the Father and the time when we will again attain perfect righteousness in heaven. The blessedness in this interval is the Spirit's instilling of that hunger and thirst after righteousness. The Lord looks upon the heart.

There are three points I want to make on this text. For this message I want to dwell on the first point, i.e., hunger and thirst are two singular appetites. MAT 5:6 says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." The Lord does not allow one word to come from His lips without having a specific meaning. To see hungering and thirsting as a single appetite is not unfolding the meaning of this Scripture. We must see how the Lord distinguishes between them.

In our next message with God's help I hope to unfold the other two points. The first will be Christ's remarkable declaration: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst...." The other point will be a special satisfaction, for they shall be filled.

THE POINT OF THIS MESSAGE is that hunger and thirst are two singular appetites. MAT 5:6 says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

Hungering and thirsting are the two most urgent needs of the body, and they are used to set forth the two most essential cravings of the soul.

Hungering is an essential urge of the body. Thirsting is co- essential but is a completely different urge. We can be very thirsty without being hungry and visa versa. We must distinguish between these two to understand what Christ is speaking of. It is so blessed that our Saviour uses these two most essential elements, i.e., our need for food and water to illustrate our two essential urges for righteousness because they are such positive identities.

No mature person has not known both hunger and thirst. If we hunger or thirst, we should be able to identify those unmistakably. It is so beautiful that the Lord gives us these two distinguishing marks to decide whether or not we do possess the true work of grace.

Do we have hunger and do we have thirst after righteousness? If we do not experience hunger or thirst, we are dead. There is no life in us. In a spiritual sense if we have no knowledge of hungering or thirsting after righteousness, we are spiritually dead. On the other hand, to hunger and thirst after righteousness is a very good indication of spiritual life. It is a tremendous indication that we have the grace of God in our heart. If we have a true hunger and thirst after righteousness, it is only by grace. This is why Jesus calls those who hunger and thirst after righteousness blessed.

How do we distinguish between hungering and thirsting? We hunger after the imputed righteousness of Christ before the bar of God's justice through the atonement of Christ. This means that we hunger for the satisfaction of our sins through the atonement of Christ. Thirsting is after the imparted righteousness of Christ, or the Spirit of Christ, in the way of true evangelical repentance. These two appetites must be distinguished and dealt with individually. In the way of sanctification, we are going to thirst to be delivered from the pollution of sin and to be conformed unto the image of Christ through the imparted obedience of Christ.

We must understand that we cannot exist without food and water! Without the one, the other is of no affect. Our text so beautifully brings forth this two-fold righteousness that is essential for salvation. We cannot claim to be delivered from the penalty of sin by the blood of Christ without a desire to be cleansed from the pollution of sin. To claim salvation, we must desire to sin no more..

Food and water are co-essential to life. One could perish of thirst standing before an abundance of food. No one can exist naturally without food and water. No one can exist Spiritually without the two-fold righteousness taught in our text. We hunger for food--- we thirst for water. We hunger for justification--we thirst for sanctification. As we proceed may God help us to see the distinction between spiritually hungering and thirsting.

Christ's robe of righteousness is clearly two fold, and we must have both. To be sanctified by the righteousness, i.e., the obedience of Christ being imparted in us, and to be justified before the bar of God's justice by the imputed righteousness of Christ are clearly distinguishable. They are both necessary unto salvation.

ZEC 3:4 teaches both. "And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. [i.e., cleanse him from the pollution of sin.] And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, [Justified before the bar of God's justice.] and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." This is specifically speaking of the robe of Christ's righteousness as a two-fold robe, i.e., in the way of sanctification and as a pardon for the soul.

ISA 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, [The word 'garments' is plural which signifies the two-fold robe of Christ's righteousness.] he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." To be justified before the courts of heaven is referred to as being clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness. The same is true with being conformed to the image of Christ by His imparted righteousness, i.e., to be cleansed from the pollution of sin through the work of repentance and sanctification.

REV 3:18 says, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire [this is faith], that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment [here is the robe], that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." This speaks of sanctification as the robe, and it says that the shame of your polluted soul may now be covered with this robe of Christ's righteousness.

The white raiment is the righteous acts of the saints which have been washed by Christ being formed in them or the imparted righteousness of Christ. In REV 19:8 we read, "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." What is this telling us? This is talking of sanctification. The robe--the white linen, clean and white--is the imparted righteousness of Christ. This robe is made white by the work of sanctification.

1CO 1:30 teaches this two-fold robe of righteousness. When we are in Christ, i.e., in His two-fold robe of righteousness, He is made unto us both justification and sanctification. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." The word righteousness used here comes from the same root word "dikaios" in the Greek as the word "justified" in ROM 5:1.

Sanctification is as co-essential with justification as water is with food. Because we cannot live on in sin, cleansing from the pollution of sin cannot be separated from being pardoned. ROM 6:1-4 says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." We must see that we need the righteousness which is the work of sanctification as well as righteousness which is the pardon before the tribunal of God.

"The shame of thy nakedness," spoken of in REV 3:18, is the fruit of unrighteousness. GEN 3:10-11 says, "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Nakedness is the fruit of unrighteousness. This symbolizes the need of Christ's two-fold robe of righteousness to cover our guilty and polluted soul.

Both forms of this two fold righteousness are co-essential. As I said earlier, you could perish of thirst standing before an abundance of food, but you could also perish of hunger standing before an abundance of pure water. For our salvation we need the blood, [i.e., the sacrifice of Christ] and the righteousness of Christ, i.e., His perfect obedience imputed to us and imparted in us.

We cannot obtain salvation through the works of righteousness without a pardon through the atonement of Christ, anymore than we can claim a pardon while we continue in sin. HEB 10:26-27 says, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."

Both forms of righteousness are essential elements to salvation. We cannot exist without either one of the two. We must have them both. We need not only the righteousness of Christ in the way of His atonement, but we also need the perfect righteousness of Christ by the way of His perfect obedience. We need Christ's perfect obedience imputed to us. The perfect image of Christ must be formed in us. We must die unto sin. We must take up our cross and die daily unto sin. We must crucify that old man of sin. If the craving for sanctification is missing, we only desire to be pardoned of our sins. Then all we have is a legal repentance; we don't have the true work of grace. To live, we must both hunger and thirst. We must have both food and drink. This is so important.

In contrast with the covenant of works in which man had to earn eternal life through his own obedience, the covenant of grace freely gives eternal life upon the basis of Christ's obedience. We do not earn eternal life with our own obedience. We have it because of Christ's obedience. ROM 5:19 says, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Through the obedience of Christ being imputed to us and imparted in us, we are "...made the righteousness of God in him," 2CO 5:21. We must look to the obedience of Christ as we look to the blood of Christ; they are co-essential to our salvation.

The Covenant of Grace had to perfectly replace the Covenant of Works. A sinless covenant head must replace sinful Adam, and the same test of obedience must be passed; the same penalty paid; the same promise earned. The promise Adam was to earn was eternal life by perfect obedience. The same penalty, however, must also be paid. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," GEN 2:17. The death of Christ pays the penalty, but by His perfect obedience He earned salvation.

Without both, we don't have a complete salvation. This is why we must understand the distinction between hungering and thirsting. We hunger after Him as the bread of life, and we thirst after Him as those waters of life. Christ is the object of our Spiritual thirst after righteousness. Jesus said in JOH 4:14, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Christ is also the object of our spiritual hunger after righteousness. Jesus said in JOH 6:49-51, "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Bread is used as a figure of speech to symbolize food. PSA 105:16 says, "Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread." The broken bread in the Lord's supper points to the broken body of Christ. This points to the payment of the penalty and being made righteous before the tribunal of God. This points to being made righteous before the bar of God's justice. This is hungering after the perfect righteousness of Christ as the bread of life which He gave "...for the life of the world," JOH 6:51.

DEU 8:2 says, "And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years [forty is the symbol of fullness, meaning through the whole lifetime] in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart [those are the same as the first three beatitudes], whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." We will be proven through the trial of our faith and sanctified in the furnace of affliction to see "...whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no."

V:3 says, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."

It is so blessed to see that we don't feed on the things of the world. We are going to feed on only one thing. We won't hunger for natural bread only, but for every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. They were fed by manna.

To feed on Christ's broken body is to feed on His righteousness obtained by the payment of the penalty. 1CO 11:24 says, "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." It is so important that we understand hungering is hungering after the broken body of Jesus Christ. It is hungering after the work of salvation on the cross.

In JOH 6:53 we find, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Unless there is hungering after the broken body of Jesus Christ and a true desire to be justified, to be pardoned, to have our sins taken away before the tribunal of God's justice, we have no life in us.

V:54-56 say, "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." When we have the true hunger after Christ, we are hungering after the broken body to be justified and pardoned before the tribunal of God.

Water is the emblem of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. To thirst after righteousness is to thirst after the purifying of the Spirit. It is to thirst after the Spirit's work of cleansing and regeneration.

Our Saviour made a distinction between eating His flesh and drinking His blood. In JOH 6:56 the Lord said, "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." There is a distinction between the eating and the drinking. The drinking of the blood points to sanctification.

HEB 9:13-14 says, "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Herein we see that the Scriptures clearly point to the blood of Christ as the cleansing and that through the eternal Spirit this cleansing process takes place. HEB 10:22 says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." This washing, a process of the Holy Spirit, is the work of sanctification pointing us to the blood of Christ.

ZEC 13:1 says, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." This fountain that was opened is certainly open through the fountain of the blood of Christ. This fountain is open for sin and uncleanness. This certainly points us to the cleansing process and the washing of the conscience and body by the water. HEB 10:22 says that our bodies will be washed with pure water. It is so important that we understand the cleansing process is the work of the Spirit by the blood of Christ.

To thirst after righteousness is to thirst after the purifying of the Spirit. This is to thirst after the Spirit's work of regeneration and cleansing. EZE 36:25 says, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." The water is referred to as a cleansing. When we have a true thirst, we are really thirsting for the cleansing of the Spirit, who works the cleansing process.

TIT 3:5 says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, [take notice] by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Now we are thirsting after righteousness and the cleansing process of the Spirit. We are thirsting to be cleansed from the filthiness and pollution of sin. V:6 continues, "Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour." This thirst was also after Jesus Christ. The Spirit was shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Water is used for bathing. In EPH 5:25-26 we find, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." That is thirsting after the sanctification and after the work of regeneration. V:27 continues, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." This is speaking of after we have been washed. This is the purifying and sanctifying process which we thirst after. We hunger after the pardon and we thirst after cleansing.

In ISA 45:8 the symbol of rain is used. "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it." That is the righteousness for which we thirst. That is the blessedness of the righteousness of the purifying process.

To thirst after righteousness is to thirst after the Spirit's melting effect. We are thirsting for the Spirit to come with a melting effect. When we learn to understand the hardness of our hearts and our coldness by nature, we understand that we cannot come to the Lord of ourselves, but often we must cry unto the Lord from the ends of the earth. Then we thirst after the renewing of the blessed Spirit of Christ. We cry out for the visit of His love, and that He would come with the melting effect of the water of the Spirit to take away the hardness of our heart.

A field that is dry and parched is full of clods of dirt, but floods of water do melt them. The clods of a dry and parched soul cannot be crushed, but when the pouring forth of the Spirit comes, the hard clods are dissolved. Only by the work of water can the clods be melted. ISA 44:3 says, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: [He doesn't come with a sprinkle, shower, or dew; He comes with a flood.] I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."

This is such a tremendous, refreshing effect. The thirsty soul is so satisfied by the melting away of the hardness and coldness of the heart. The hardness is melted by the floods of the Spirit.

V:4 says, "And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." That is so blessed. This shows the two-fold righteousness. The soul hungers for justification before the bar of God's justice, and it thirsts after righteousness too. We must distinguish between the two. We must understand what it is to thirst after those visits of Christ's love, to hunger and thirst for the presence of the Lord.

Water quenches thirst. He will pour floods upon the dry ground, enough to melt the hardest heart. The Spirit of God comes as a flood upon our heart to melt that hard and stony heart. The Spirit will bring us into total submission and subjection to the Lord. When the Lord has withdrawn, we have the hardness and coldness in our soul, and then we hunger and thirst. We desire for the smiles of the Father to see that we are, in fact, brought into the adoption of sons. We also need the visits of His love.

We hunger and thirst after Him. The harmony is so blessed. What would an enormous feast mean if you were dying of thirst and could not eat it? If you were dying of hunger, what would an abundance of water be worth? The human body must have both. The blessed mark of the Christian is to hunger and thirst.

PSA 65:10 says, "Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof." The ground becomes hard and dry as our heart does. When the Lord comes with the floods of water or the blessed flood of the Spirit, the heart is softened; it is dissolved as the hard clods of the field. All our rebellion is broken, and our will is dissolved by the will of God.

Christ's obedience is the object of our thirst after righteousness. We must understand as we become conformed to the image of hrist we begin to realize how the Father was glorified by the obedience of Christ. Then we desire to do the will of the Father--not only to escape the penalty of sin, but because we delight to do His will, PHI 2:8-12.

JOH 4:14 says, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Isn't that beautiful? By the water, He means the desire for sanctification and to have a Holy heart. He is talking of the desire to do His will and to have our pride broken. This is a desire to have all the things of time and sense removed from our lives.

JOH 4:14 says, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The well of everlasting life is within us. Then we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. The Spirit of Christ, the desire to walk in submission to the Lord, will be springing up as a well of water of everlasting life. Then the thirst is quenched through the waters.

Blessed are they who thirst after righteousness through sanctification. Their hearts will be conformed to the image of Christ. JOH 7:38 says, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The blessed Spirit of Christ will be in us, and it will flow forth to be seen and understood. No person will ever have to ask "where is thy God?" PSA 42:3. The world will be able to see that Christ is formed in you. They will be able to see the image of Christ in you and that the living waters are flowing out of you.

The preaching of this two-fold righteousness was the gospel from all ages. This is so important to understand. The two-fold righteousness of Christ is not a new doctrine. The burnt offerings pointed to Christ's pledge to pay the penalty of sin for His Church. Circumcision pointed to Christ's pledge of perfect obedience for His Church. This two-fold righteousness was preached in the Old Testament Church. Circumcision teaches Christ becoming a debtor to do the whole law for His church.

GAL 4:4 says, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." Christ came to be made of a woman, made under the law to fulfill the law by perfect obedience. That is how He purchased our salvation. V:5 says, "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." He came to redeem all of those under the law, i.e., the circumcision covenant with Abraham. Every person by nature is under the condemnation of the law.

Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. When He was circumcised, He took upon Himself the debt of His church for the perfect obedience for full satisfaction of the law. It was necessary that He met the perfect obedience as well as pay the penalty of the law. We can see the two-fold gospel throughout the Old Testament church. He was circumcised on the eighth day, and He was baptized.

Every man that is circumcised is a debtor to do the whole law. GAL 5:3 says, "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law." When the Lord Jesus Christ was circumcised, He took upon Himself to become a debtor to do the whole law for His church. He took upon Himself the debt of perfect obedience to purchase our salvation.

We are complete in Him. COL 2:10 says, "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." We are so blessed if we understand that in the Lord Jesus Christ we are complete. How are we complete in the Lord Jesus Christ? He became our perfect obedience, and He satisfied our penalty.

He paid the penalty of sin which He pledged with the burnt offerings. He paid our debt of perfect obedience which He pledged in His circumcision. In Him we are sanctified and redeemed. We are complete in Him. COL 2:11 says, "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." This needs no further explanation. We are circumcised for the putting off the body of sin and the cleansing of the heart by the circumcision of Christ. In Christ we are complete. We have the perfect obedience restored. He pledged His obedience in His circumcision.

There is a distinction between hungering and thirsting. There is a distinction between sanctification and justification. There is a distinction between circumcision and baptism. We need both. Circumcision pointed to our sanctification. Baptism points toward justification. They are co-essential. One doesn't replace the other. Can you replace water with food? Can you replace food with water? It is just as illogical to replace baptism with circumcision or visa versa. Every person that has ever been in Christ is circumcised in Christ. Christ was circumcised, and He became our sanctification. We are also baptized in Him.

In His baptism Jesus pledged His death, burial, and resurrection. His baptism points to Him stepping under the wrath of God and paying the penalty of sin. When He came back up out of the water, that pointed to His resurrection. The New Testament pledge is not the burnt offerings, and it has nothing to do with circumcision. We are circumcised in Christ. In our baptism we have the New Testament pledge--His resurrection. His resurrection pledges to us that God the Father accepted His perfect obedience. His being raised out of the grave was the absolute guarantee of the Father's satisfaction of the perfect obedience and of the payment of the penalty.

Now we can understand the hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Christ's baptism pointed to His death, burial, and resurrection. As He was placed under the water, He pledged that He was coming to pay our debt of sin. He was pledging that He would step down into the wrath of the Father to pay the penalty of sin. As He came up out of the water, He pledged to come up out of the grave. In His resurrection, we have our pledge that the Father has accepted the payment of the penalty and the payment of perfect obedience. He paid the penalty by an act of obedience. "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," PHI 2:8.

COL 2:12 says, "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Do you see the beauty where Scripture says that we are complete in Him? We are circumcised in Him; we are buried with Him, and we are raised with Him. Our hunger and our thirst are satisfied in Him. They are two totally distinguishable appetites. We may not treat them as one.

We would die of hunger before an abundance of water. We would die of thirst before an abundance of choice food. We must have food, and we must have water. Without them we cannot live. So it is with righteousness. We must hunger, and we must thirst. We must need the perfect satisfaction before the bar of God's justice. We must also thirst after the purifying and blessed work of sanctification. The blessed work of repentance is a gift of God. We must understand that we must have both. Otherwise we are short.

As Jesus said in JOH 6:53, "...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Without both we do not possess the grace the Lord is speaking of, and we are not the blessed character that He speaks of.

It is so essential that we examine our own heart to see if we are only fleeing from the penalty of sin. Are we only interested in the blood of Christ for a pardon, or do we thirst after Christ as our sanctification? Are we desiring to be cleansed from sin? Has sin truly become sinful? Do we hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ? Our text says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

Amen.


These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a book ministry and a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog.

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