Monday, January 01, 2007

The nature of spiritual hunger

Excerpted from The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson (1620—1686)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.

This is a blessed spiritual hunger after righteousness. By hunger here, Jesus means desire or appetite for that which the soul values. Here is a blessed man who recognizes that he lacks righteousness in himself.

He wants righteousness. What is meant by righteousness? Scripturally, righteousness is twofold: (1) imputed righteousness, and (2) implanted righteousness. Imputed righteousness is Christ’s Righteousness given to us through faith – and since Christ is our Righteousness, God looks upon us as if we had never sinned. ‘You are complete in him!’ (Colossians 2:10). He who has this Righteousness is equal to the most renowned saints. The weakest believer is justified as much as the strongest. This is a Christian’s triumph. When he is corrupt in himself, he is incorrupt in his Head, Jesus Christ. In this blessed Righteousness we shine brighter than the angels. This Righteousness, the blessed man discovers, is worth hungering after.

Implanted righteousness is planted in our hearts when the Spirit of Christ enters us. It is the seed of sanctification toward righteousness as the blessed Holy Spirit improves our gifts of graces, increases holiness of heart and life, and leads us into all truth. A blessed man hungers after this. This shows that we have His Life in us. A dead man cannot hunger. Hunger proceeds from life. This appetite is as much from God as [the Bread of Life that satisfies it].

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