“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Mt 5:6 NKJV
This beatitude corrects two mistakes we make when it comes to our salvation. The first: that it’s all about believing. The second: that it’s all about behaving. Actually, it’s about both! The new birth brings: (1) A position of righteousness. If you stacked up all your good works until they were as big as a mountain, you’d still come up short of the payment required to get into heaven. That’s true before you become a Christian, and it’s true after you become one. If you saw the movie The Passion of the Christ and thought, “Why did He have to die such a death?” here’s the answer: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Co 5:21 NIV). The moment you accept Jesus as your Savior you become “righteous” in God’s eyes. Awesome! (2) A condition of righteousness. “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God” (Ro 6:11 NIV). Salvation is not just a position of righteousness you hold before God, but a condition of righteousness you live out before others every day. How do you do that? By valuing God’s will more than your own (See Pr 3:5). By seeking to display the character qualities of Christ as described in Scripture: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness [and] self-control” (Gal 5:22-23 NAS). You say, “That’s a tall order!” Yes, but we are not left to do it alone: “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him” (2Co 3:18 TLB).