How Much Righteousness

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20

Without getting into the doctrinal application of the difference between the “kingdom of heaven” and the “kingdom of God,” we will look at this verse and what it says about righteousness.  This passage really begins in verse 17, in which Jesus says that “I am not come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”  He then begins to talk about that law and our relationship to it.

He says in verse 20 that “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees…”  To me, there are two ways to look at this, and I think that both of them are true.  We will look at one today and one tomorrow.

First, you could look at the scribes and Pharisees as being among the most “righteous” people of their day.  They spent their lives studying the law.  They did everything right.  They were the religious leaders of the day.  But even though they studied the law and did their best to fulfill its demands, they couldn’t measure up.  “The best of men are men at best.”  They needed an even higher righteousness.  So do we.  That higher righteousness is found in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:22 says, “…the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.”  We need the righteousness of God Himself and we have that righteousness available to us by faith in Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:4 tells us, “…Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”  Even the best and most righteous of men does not measure up to the standard of God.  We simply can’t measure up.  But when we, by faith, accept Jesus Christ, He becomes our righteousness.

Without Him, we would have no hope, though we were among the best people on earth.  With Him, the vilest sinner can have a righteousness that exceeds the scribes and Pharisees.  What a wonderful Saviour!

4 responses to this post.

  1. And the righteousness of God is that HE has set us right with Himself. He could do no less in His infinte kindness thatn to reach out to all of us who were so lost. How blessed are we that we have been created by this God?

    Reply

  2. Sometimes it is all too much for me , Ben, all that we have because of Jesus. God bless you as you praise Him today!

    Reply

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