This week, Pastor Ted Wilson talks about the fourth blessing Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
Have you been terribly hungry or thirsty? Your throat went really dry and your stomach was aching so badly. And over time, your craving for food and water became stronger. Then, what a relief it was when you finally got some food and water to satisfy your hunger and thirst!
Jesus tells us in the fourth beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Here, instead of talking about physical food and drink, He is referring to spiritual nourishment—longing after righteousness.
What is righteousness?
“Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and ‘God is love,'” (Ellen White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 18). It is conformity to the law of God, for “all Thy commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172), and “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Therefore, righteousness is love, and love is the light and life of God. This love is embodied in Him. So, we receive righteousness by accepting Him. This righteousness is not something we can earn because it is a gift from God.
“Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it” (Ellen White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 18).
In every human being, there is a “God-shaped hole”—a place in the heart that only God can fill. Ecclesiastes 3:11 seems to verify this by saying God has “put eternity” into our hearts.
Though many people try to fill that space with philosophy, materialism, secularism, and the like, only God can truly satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Just as we need food and water to sustain physical life, we also need Christ to sustain spiritual life to follow where He leads us.
“A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God…If you have a sense of need in your soul, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness, this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, in order that He may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself” (Ellen White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 19).
Then, on page 20, we are given this promise: “The words of God are the wellsprings of life. As you seek unto those living springs, you will, through the Holy Spirit, be brought into communion with Christ. Familiar truths will present themselves to your mind in a new aspect, texts of Scripture will burst upon you with a new meaning as a flash of light, you will see the relation of other truths to the work of redemption, and you will know that Christ is leading you; a divine Teacher is at your side.”
And again, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). This is a precious promise we can claim today.
To learn more about this topic, read Ellen White’s book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing and download its digital copy at https://egwwritings.org/.