Pray that the saints would hunger and thirst for righteousness, be willing to be persecuted for it, live it out by taking Christ as their life according to the new law of life, and seek it along with God’s kingdom in the reality of the church life today (Matt. 5:6 and 6¹, 10 and 10¹, 20 and 20¹; 6:33 and 33¹).
Matt. 5:6 — Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Matt. 5:6¹, righteousness—Righteousness here denotes our being right in our behavior. We need to hunger and thirst for this righteousness, to seek after such righteousness, that we may enter into the kingdom of the heavens (vv. 10, 20).
Matt. 5:10 — Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.
Matt. 5:10¹, persecuted—The whole world lies in the evil one (1 John 5:19) and is filled with unrighteousness. If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness. For the sake of the kingdom of the heavens, we need to pay a price for the righteousness that we seek.
Matt. 5:20 — For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.
Matt. 5:20¹, righteousness—Righteousness here does not refer only to objective righteousness, which is the Christ whom we receive when we believe in Him and are thus justified before God (1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 3:26); it refers even more to subjective righteousness, which is the indwelling Christ lived out of us as our righteousness that we may live in the reality of the kingdom today and enter into its manifestation in the future…It is impossible for our natural life to gain this surpassing righteousness; it can be produced only by a higher life, the resurrection life of Christ. This righteousness, which is likened to the wedding garment (22:11-12), qualifies us to participate in the wedding of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-8) and inherit the kingdom of the heavens in its manifestation, that is, to enter into the kingdom of the heavens in the future…The surpassing righteousness of the kingdom people is the righteousness of life, which they live out by taking Christ as their life according to the new law of life.
Matt. 6:33 — But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matt. 6:33¹, kingdom—The Father’s kingdom is the reality of the kingdom of the heavens today, the reality of the church life today, and will be the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens in the coming age. The Father’s righteousness is the righteousness expressed by the keeping of the new law of the kingdom, as mentioned in 5:20. This righteousness is Christ, who is lived out by the kingdom people. Since the kingdom people seek first the kingdom and the righteousness of their heavenly Father, not only will His kingdom and His righteousness be given to them, but also all that they need will be added to them.
The Lord’s word in Matthew 5 through 7 concerning the kingdom’s constitution stresses righteousness…No other book in the New Testament has as much regulation as Matthew, for Matthew concerns the kingdom, which is a matter of righteousness. Without righteousness there is no government or kingdom. (CWWL, 1982, vol. 1, “The Ministry of the New Covenant Being the Ministry of the Spirit, Righteousness, and Reconciliation,” p. 140)
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