Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hunger and Thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS

Recall that in this previous post, I mentioned how my blogging friend Neil of Eternity Matters got involved in a discussion with commenters at Jim Wallis' blog. Wallis is a believer in the "social justice" movement, which many biblical scholars believe is a perversion of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This morning, I was listening to the Glenn Beck radio program and Glenn responded to accusations that were made by Wallis. This evening, I checked that blog again and Wallis has posted about the back and forth between Beck and himself in his latest post called Glenn Beck responds to social justice as a perversion of the Gospel.

Glenn provided an audio account on his radio show today of what Wallis has stated in the past about his (Wallis') beliefs.

As it is with any person who claims to share the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must compare what a person says against what is written in Scripture. During the audio where Jim Wallis discusses certain verses stated by Jesus, he DOES pervert the Gospel by changing just ONE WORD!

The following are some of the verses that Wallis referred to during his audio interview:

Mat 5:1 ¶ And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Mat 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Mat 5:3 Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:4 Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Mat 5:5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Mat 5:6 Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Which word did Wallis change? He inserted the word "justice" in the place of "righteousness."

You will notice that the only Bible versions that change the word "righteousness" to "justice" are the NLT (New Living Translation) and RVR (Reina Valera). All the rest utilize the word "righteousness."

One of the reasons that the NLT is not considered an accurate version of the Bible is that the word changes used to make it easier and more contemporary for readers often skews the true meaning of many Bible passages. As you will notice from reading this blog post, even the change of just one word can skew the meaning to what men want Scripture to say (i.e. esogesis), rather than what Scripture is accurately telling us (exegesis).

When we look at some commentaries on the term "righteousness" from Matthew 5:6, we see that the meaning of Jesus' word here is not the same as the term "justice."

Chuck Smith commentary excerpt:

A. Being or doing the right thing or having right attitude.
1. With God.
2. With fellowman. (To be free from sin. Power, desire.)
B. Being or doing what God would have me.
C. This is the burning desire of my heart.

David Guzik commentary excerpt:

d. Through the first three beatitudes we notice that the natural man finds no happiness or blessedness in spiritual poverty, mourning or meekness. These are only a blessing for the spiritual man, those who are new creatures in Jesus.

5. (6) The desire of the one who has poverty of spirit, mourning for sin, and meekness: righteousness.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."

a. Blessed are those who hunger: This describes a profound hunger that cannot be satisfied by a snack. This is a longing that endures and is never completely satisfied on this side of eternity.

b. Hunger and thirst for righteousness: We see Christians hungering for many things: power, authority, success, comfort, happiness - but how many hunger and thirst for righteousness?

i. This is hunger for complete righteousness, not just enough to soothe a guilty conscience.

c. For they shall be filled: This is a strange filling that both satisfies us and keeps us longing for more.

Jamieson Fausset & Brown:

6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled--"shall be saturated." "From this verse," says THOLUCK, "the reference to the Old Testament background ceases." Surprising! On the contrary, none of these beatitudes is more manifestly dug out of the rich mine of the Old Testament. Indeed, how could any one who found in the Old Testament "the poor in spirit," and "the mourners in Zion," doubt that he would also find those same characters also craving that righteousness which they feel and mourn their want of? But what is the precise meaning of "righteousness" here? Lutheran expositors, and some of our own, seem to have a hankering after that more restricted sense of the term in which it is used with reference to the sinner's justification before God. (See Jer 23:6 Isa 45:24 Rom 4:6 2Cr 5:21 ). But, in so comprehensive a saying as this, it is clearly to be taken--as in Mat 5:10 also--in a much wider sense, as denoting that spiritual and entire conformity to the law of God, under the want of which the saints groan, and the possession of which constitutes the only true saintship. The Old Testament dwells much on this righteousness, as that which alone God regards with approbation ( Psa 11:7 23:3 106:3 Pro 12:28 16:31 Isa 64:5 , &c.). As hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, our Lord, by employing this figure here, plainly means "those whose deepest cravings are after spiritual blessings." And in the Old Testament we find this craving variously expressed: "Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord" ( Isa 51:1 ); "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord," exclaimed dying Jacob ( Gen 49:18 ); "My soul," says the sweet Psalmist, "breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times" ( Psa 119:20 ): and in similar breathings does he give vent to his deepest longings in that and other Psalms. Well, our Lord just takes up here--this blessed frame of mind, representing it as--the surest pledge of the coveted supplies, as it is the best preparative, and indeed itself the beginning of them. "They shall be saturated," He says; they shall not only have what they so highly value and long to possess, but they shall have their fill of it. Not here, however. Even in the Old Testament this was well understood. "Deliver me," says the Psalmist, in language which, beyond all doubt, stretches beyond the present scene, "from men of the world, which have their portion in this life: as for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" ( Psa 17:13-15 ). The foregoing beatitudes--the first four--represent the saints rather as conscious of their need of salvation, and acting suitably to that character, than as possessed of it. The next three are of a different kind--representing the saints as having now found salvation, and conducting themselves accordingly.

The Greek Concordance tells us that the word "dikaiosune" means "justification - righteousness."

The term justification means:

4. Also called justification by faith. Theology. the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.

When you compare the dictionary meaning of the term "justice", with what each of the commentary authors describe for the term "righteousness," you can see that it doesn't even come close to the true meaning of what Jesus was referring to in this particular Beatitude.

Hat Tips to all links.


Neil said...

Great catch, Christine! Those Sojourner's commenters are bizarre. One lady just made up things left and right and lashed out when I called her on them. Their whole foundation is word games, especially their perversion of "social justice."

How can "social justice" people be pro-legalized abortion?

Christinewjc said...

Neil wrote:

How can "social justice" people be pro-legalized abortion?

VERY good point! Their ideology trumps God's Word every time - especially when it comes to their political philosophy.

They CHOOSE to believe what God's Word is clearly against! They are without excuse!

Christinewjc said...

And - the fact that they hold to a view where they claim to know "God's Politics" (which is the title of the blog!) rather than adhere to God's TRUTH as it is revealed in the Bible, shows that they do not focus on Jesus Christ. They focus on their own ideology rather than the wisdom of God which has been delivered unto the saints.

I am reading Ed Hindson's excellent book on Revelation. When I get time, I will write a new blog post which will compare Christ's messages to the seven churches and how some of what He condemns those ancient churches for could apply to the "church" of Jim Wallis. Most important of all, they need to repent!

Amanda said...

I don't know much about what the Sojourners believe or what you believe for that matter, and I certainly don't claim to be a Biblical scholar. However, the Greek word δικαιοσύνη (thee-kay-o-SEE-nee) is translated as both English words "justice" and "righteousness."

And, I might add that it is a rather broad statement to lump all of those who pursue justice into a caucus who believe in pro-legalized abortion.