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In several contexts, the word, 'righteousness' is used for many different purposes. It can mean acquittal under the law, rightness with God, ability to do right, or what God calls a right way of living.

Reference: Matthew 5:6 New International Version (NIV) 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.'

The term 'righteousness' is used here to indicate the desire to conform to the will of God. It is a bit different from the other term, righteousness (rightness with God), which is a gift cannot be earned through any hard work or merit. In this case, to hunger for righteousness, is to have the strong desire to do things the right way, to act justly, or to do things in conformity to the will of God. For example, in Matthew 3:13-15, before John the Baptist baptised Jesus, it was recorded that he resisted, saying that Jesus was the one who should baptize him. So John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" However Jesus replied, '"Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.' To fulfil all righteousness here means, to align with God's will. It can also signify to walk in accordance with divine ordinance.

Why did Jesus insist? He wanted it to be done rightly, though His explanation was not in detail or immediately understood. So He simply told John, "it is fitting for them to fulfill all righteousness." A hunger for righteousness comes as a desire in the mind of those who are hungry to see that righteousness always wins. They long for justice to prevail. They want what is right to overcome what is wrong and evil in the world. Our opening Scripture says that these set of people will be filled, because the kingdom of heaven supports the desire to bring an end to all unrighteousness.

A hunger for righteousness is an expression that wants to see righteousness being fulfilled. When we have such hunger, our appetite will be completely satisfied, no matter the situation or how long it takes. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:34 that Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Here this righteousness denotes the ability of a nation to choose God's way of doing things and comply with His righteous cause. That means, a nation can be exalted by the way they regard God's moral standard. This was prevalent in the old covenant era: when a nation known by God begins to ignore God's definitions of morality, and set their own definitions or modify the definitions to find their own comfort and pleasure, downgrading is around the corner. However those who fight for justice and righteousness to be established in a nation, hunger for righteousness. This is the thin line between "righteousness as a gift" and "a hunger for righteousness."

Also, there are people have endured extreme ill treatment while being completely innocent. So they hunger for justice or righteous judgement. The Bible says this about Jesus in 1 Peter 2:23 (NASB): "and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." To Judge righteously is to grant justice to a person or a people, according to what is right. It is the Greek term, 'dikaios'. Dikaios is an adverb in Greek lexicon, which means "righteously; justly; in accordance to what is right." It is used to describe God's righteous judgement.

Scripture Reading - Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 32:17; Acts 10:34-35; 2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 6:13,18.

Guided Prayer: Precious Father, you are a holy and righteous King, perfect in all your ways. You are my desire and a righteous Judge, who fulfils all my longings for righteousness. By your Spirit, I live daily to become the best version and reflection of your righteousness. Thank you for teaching me to follow your statutes and keep your ordinances, acting faithfully, in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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