What an amazing expression of God’s grace. The One who is completely holy and totally pure will accept those who even thirst after His righteousness. He doesn’t wait until I am made pure to receive me, but actually blesses my effort of holiness. He will accept my simple desire of Him, my heart’s wish to be like Him, and the longing of my being to be near Him. Though I have yet to reach Him, if I will just look to Him and long to be like Him He says that He will count it as righteousness for me. Even though I do not claim to be like Him, and hesitate to even reach out to touch the hem of His garment, if I will admire His beauty and holiness from afar He will bless my holy hunger and divine thirst.
However, this verse doesn’t teach that you can have salvation apart from God or His goodness. You wouldn’t even hunger or thirst for Him if His life were not already working in your life. You wouldn’t see in Him any beauty to long for if there were not some spark of His beauty in you. The Beloved Disciple tells us that “we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.” Thus, your vision of Him if the proof of your likeness of Him. If you were not like Him you couldn’t see Him as He truly is. If His light was not within you, there would be desire in your heart to imitate Him – you wouldn’t even fret over not imitating Him.
A man can not admire that which is outside of his nature. He doesn’t seek something that is not like him. That is why my soul’s hunger pleads for me and my thirst intercedes on my behalf. The very fact that there is a desire in my heart for holiness shows that His Spirit is even now at the door.
You can cry out for food before you ever even taste it, but you do not have the innate ability to cry out for righteousness until you have first tasted and seen that the Lord, He is good. He has already begun to be beautiful who has seen the King in His beauty, and he is already starting to be filled who know hungers and thirsts after His righteousness.