Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.”
The sense that we are empty of all personal goodness and unable to be righteous in ourselves drives us out of ourselves and makes us hunger for Christ’s righteousness. There are two kinds of righteousness that we must hunger for. First, we must hunger for the righteousness of Christ that is outside of us (Rom 5:17; Phil 3:9). This is a hunger to be right with God and acceptable in His sight. It’s a desire for God’s grace and forgiveness. Second, we hunger for Christ’s righteousness worked in us. This is the main point of the passage. Internal righteousness is a loving heart that is filled with the Spirit and with the fruit of the Spirit. It is a desire to be like Christ out of love for Him.
The only cost of being filled with Christ’s righteousness is hunger and thirst for it. There is no other cost. Isaiah 55:1 says, "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” All you have to do is bring an appetite! A friend invites a guest to his table but does not require him to pay for dinner, only that he come ready to eat! The meal is free. In the same way God odes not require anything of us to get righteousness, except our hunger. If you want Christ's righteousness, then it’s yours!
Someone might ask, “If it’s free, then why don’t more people hunger for it?” The answer is that some are so full of their own righteousness that they don’t feel empty. A stomach full of air feels full, even though there is nothing in it. Some don’t hunger and thirst because they are more drowsy than hungry. Sometimes when we’re really sleepy, we lose our appetites. In the same way, some Christians become so sleepy in their faith that they no longer hunger for Christ and his righteousness. Some are hungrier for play than for the food of Christ. Sometimes children get so wrapped up in playing outside that they forget to come home for supper. Are you so occupied with recreations and play that you’ve forgotten to hunger for Christ? Perhaps you say, I can remember being hungry for Christ, but I’m not anymore. I can hardly feel anything but emptiness. Then you should thank God you know what hunger is! It means you did hunger once, and you will hunger again. Wait on God. Trust that He will do as He has promised.
Maybe you're asking, “How do I develop a hunger for Christ?” The first thing is stay away from things that will spoil your appetite. Just as sweets and candies will spoil your appetite for dinner, so also will the pleasures promised by sin spoil your appetite for Christ. Just as sweets and candies can never fill you up and nourish you, so neither can sin satisfy your soul in any lasting way. So, starve your sinful nature, and feed your redeemed nature. In the physical world, when you eat, you feel full and your hunger goes away. But in the spiritual world, the more you feed, the hungrier you become. So, fill your life with the things God has designed to cause your hunger to increase. Read the Word of God faithfully. Discipline yourself to pray as often as possible. Come to church, and be encouraged by the assembly of believers. Set your mind on Christ, fill your mind with thoughts of the cross and resurrection and His love for you.
According to this passage, everyone who hungers will be filled (v. 6)! God is a fountain, who is full of blessing and joy, and He will fill all who want to be filled. Why does He do this? Because He is a God of tender compassion and delights in doing good to sinners. Because He will fulfill His Word and He promises in this very text to satisfy the hungry. Because when the hungry soul is filled, it is most thankful, and a thankful soul gives glory to God.