Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
What would you expect to get in a trade for Babe Ruth? In 1919, the Boston Red Sox traded the Great Bambino to the New York Yankees for $25,000. The Red Sox did not receive any players in the deal; just the cash, which, adjusted for inflation, would be less than $1 million today. The Babe went on to hit over 700 home runs, and with him, the Yankees won the World Series four times. Many consider this the worst trade in sports history, and who can blame them?
What would you expect to get in a trade for the family inheritance? In Genesis 25:29-34, Esau traded his birthright as Isaac’s firstborn son for a bowl of Jacob’s stew. It’s shocking to think that a man would give away so much for a few minutes with lentil stew. It’s one of the worst trades in Scripture. But there’s a trade far worse than what the Red Sox and Esau did, and we’ve all made it.
At the heart of sin is a trade. Our hunger—for money, food, power, sex, success, or approval—often leads us to make insane value judgments. Paul says that we exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Sin is the darkest exchange: There’s no trade worse than trading God for something else. Apart from Christ, sinners lack the righteousness of God. We’re not in a right relationship with Him, and we can’t do anything to make it right.
What should we expect to get in a trade for our sin? The Bible makes it clear that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), that all we should expect in return for our sin is the wrath and judgment that unrighteousness deserves. As much as that offends people, that is fair. A holy God cannot make peace with sin. But there is an even more shocking trade in the Bible that changes everything. Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” On the cross, the Father made His Son—who knew no sin—to be sin, so that those who are in Jesus Christ might be covered in His righteousness. This Great Exchange involves a double imputation: our sin was imputed to Christ, and His righteousness is imputed to us. For those who trust in Christ, this trade means life and peace, but for Jesus it meant death and anguish. How do we respond when we’re reminded that the Lord would make this trade for us? Are we not moved when we realize that He experienced the judgment that we deserve so that we might experience the favor that He deserves? At the cross, we behold the wondrous mystery, “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
Deep down, we all know that something’s not right. And we try everything under the sun to make things right, to weave a righteousness that will cover our nakedness. Today, the Lord invites us to rest in the good news of Jesus Christ. If we are in Christ, the Lord is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), He has made us right with Him (Romans 5:10), and now He invites us to participate in His work of reconciling all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). Are we ready to give up the tireless pursuit of our own righteousness? Are we ready to rejoice in the righteousness that Christ offers? Are we hungry and thirsty for it?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.