Never Thirsty, Always Full

The Sermon on the Mount (Part 4)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).  This is my favorite promise of the Beatitudes.  But again, we often get this turned around in our preaching when we put the burden on us to “keep” this promise.  Let me explain.

We often come to Matthew 5:6 with this mindset.  What is your level of “hunger and thirst” for righteousness?  How serious are you about living a righteous life?  I have even heard a radio preacher question our salvation if we are not feeling the “hunger” for righteousness.  This completely flips the promise around and puts the shame on us if we are not hungry enough.  How much hunger is enough?

At the risk of sounding crass, my “hunger and thirst” is now zero.  It has been completely satisfied in Jesus.  In the incredible great exchange, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21).  When you believed the gospel message, you became filled to the full with the righteousness of God.  There is no pride in this.  You had nothing to do with this level of full to overflowing.  It is a complete gift of God’s grace.

Do you see how this Beatitude is looking forward?  When Jesus spoke this promise, its fulfillment was still in the future.  It is pointing ahead to the day when through Christ’s death and resurrection the great exchange of our sin for His righteousness would be made available to us.  Jesus foretold this day would come in the gospel of John as well.

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst’ ” (John 6:35).  And again in John chapter 7, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” ‘  By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).

Notice the requirement for experiencing the river’s flow in John 7 is the same as the prerequisite for never thirst in John 6; believe in Jesus Christ.  That is it.  To experience the promise of never thirsting is only contingent on being a believer; embracing the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  There is no continuing or further requirement.  No level of spirituality.  No keeping a New Testament version of the law.  No expression of still being hungry or thirsty.  Only believe.

How does Jesus keep the never thirst promise?  By filling us with His Holy Spirit (John 7:39).  And this filling is not stagnant.  It is to play itself out every day as we experience the supernatural Christian life.  The Greek word for “rivers” in John 7:38 is often translated floods or torrents.  The Spirit is a rushing river of the all-sufficient power of the risen Christ.  Our role is not to strive to find the river, our role is to open the floodgates and allow the river – already rushing within us by the promise of Jesus – to flow out into our daily experience.

The word “never” is a powerful word.  I try not to use it very often.  The word “never” doesn’t allow for loopholes.  Yet, in John 6, Jesus makes the incredible promise that “he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  It is a promise only Jesus can keep.  And it is a promise first delivered to us in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  In Jesus, your hunger and thirst are fully satisfied!