There is nothing in this world that is more real than hunger and thirst—and the truly blessed man has such a real passion, desire and craving after righteousness that it can only be likened to hunger and thirst. He must have his sins pardoned, he must be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and he must be sanctified! And he feels that it will break his heart if he cannot get rid of sin. He pines, he longs, and he prays to be made holy! He cannot be satisfied without this righteousness—and his hungering and thirsting for it is a very real thing. -Charles Spurgeon
Opening prayer from Spurgeon’s Prayers Personalized, free to download at Monergism
I had to spend time wrestling with a heavy weight on my heart for a while before I was able to really get this episode under way. No one specific thing seemed to hinder me, but I ended up seeking counsel from many good brothers who aided me in and with prayer and much truth, and I am incredibly grateful to them that I am now able to be here creating this.
The truth Charles Spurgeon speaks about the Beatitudes, that each one succeeds and builds upon the one before it logically and in a sort of “order of salvation” sense, is beginning to be demonstrated as we get to one of the greatest promises a believer in Jesus can cling to: when you ache with desire for righteousness, you will be satisfied.
When you feel the awareness of the glory and purity of God revealed in Jesus and you feel so very unworthy to be in his presence, remember: you will be satisfied.
When you cry out for freedom from desperately clinging sins and false identities that call you into evil ways of life, that call you by names of a dead man, you have the right, the privilege, and the charge to look to the cross, and to the empty grave, and to know: Jesus satisfies all charges against you; Jesus takes away even the sins you haven’t committed yet; Jesus gives you his perfect and complete righteousness like a garment that will never wear out and never be soiled.
Alive and imperishable
Paul takes the ideas that Jesus teaches here and discusses them in great detail especially in Romans. Chapter 6 opens with the truth about the relationship of the believer in Christ to sin: we are dead to it.
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. -Romans 6:6-11
It doesn’t mean that in this world we will never sin (chapter 7 goes on to discuss that), but that we have been set free from sin both in guilt and in fact. We do not have to say yes to our sin, and in fact should continue to faithfully say no to it because we can and we must. That is the hunger of the one who has been changed by the Holy Spirit; that is the holy thirst of the one who bows the knee to Jesus in joy and adoration.
Let’s put away the big words for a moment though: this is about the way God changes a man when he saves him. Each step we’ve taken, from the eyes opening to the reality of how much we actually need God and how inadequate we are on our own, to the mourning of our hearts over that truth and the humility of heart that comes as a result, and now the new taste, the new desires we have. But even though this hunger and thirst is something that we as believers now have by the grace of God, we have to feed that hunger, we need to drink our fill of God’s goodness and righteousness!
Jonathan Edwards said of this deep-seated need, “There is no such thing as excess in our taking of this spiritual food. There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting.” And even more importantly: for those in Christ, there is no cutting us off from that feast. When we stumble and sin, we are not turned away by a shocked God shaking his head saying “Well, geez, I thought you were better than this…maybe come back after you’ve washed up.” No, we are to come right to that table and leave behind the sinful junk food, because God has provided a strengthening meal and a refreshing drink that restores.
Next episode we will continue this as we dig into the kind of person that God is making us into in Christ. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support, and I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast and follow at the links below.