156. Hunger for righteousness.
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6) We were declared righteous by faith to do what is 'right and just' in the eyes of God and man but those who deliberately do what is 'wrong and unjust', inspite of having known the truth, cannot experience the fullness of the Spirit. The secret to the infilling is the eagerness to do what is 'right and just' and the earning for the inner strength to carry it out. Infact, the desire to do what is 'right and just' comes from God, though he knows that we lack the inner strength to do it. 'For he knows how we are formed and remembers that we are dust.' (Psalm 103:14) So he said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) God expects us to abide in him for that inner strength just as Paul found out. His frank confession of his struggle to do what is good, should help us realise that we are not alone in this struggle against sin. 'For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I but the sin living in me that does it ... What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this body of death. Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!' (Romans 7:18-25) What stops us from doing what is 'right and just' is sin. The Lord had said to Cain, "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7) Paul found that the solution was to 'live according to the Spirit' (Romans 8:1-4) which he emphasized in his other epistles as well. 'So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the sinful nature ... Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.' (Galatians 5:16-24) When the Holy Spirit comes, he imparts the righteousness of Christ to us which makes our spirits come alive or born again. 'If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.' (Romans 8:10) The hunger and thirst for righteousness is therefore a sign of rebirth. Then 'like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it we may grow in this salvation.' (1 Peter 2:2) Amen.