The Righteousness of the Pharisees!!!
For I say to You that Unless Your Righteousness exceeds the Righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, You will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven…. Matthew 5:20
In this verse, We see Jesus stating the Kind of Righteousness He has come to establish. It is a Righteousness that Exceeds what the Old testament people had. It was a Righteousness that Exceeds what the Great teachers and Scholars in the Old Covenant had. And what makes it more serious is that “Unless Our Righteousness Exceeds the Righteousness of those who lived in the Old Covenant, we will NOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven!!!” Do you think Jesus was making an empty threat? Do you think Jesus was joking? Far from it!!! We will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven Unless Our Righteousness surpasses those who lived in the Old testament!!! In the previous Verse, He talks about those who will be least and great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But Here He talks about those who will not enter. It is a False Grace that leads us to a standard of Life Lower than than those who lived in the Old testament. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest Man who ever lived in the Old Covenant but even the least Believer who enters into the Kingdom of Heaven is Greater than John(Matthew 11:11). This means that the Least Believer in the New Covenant has a capacity to rise to a Higher Level of Life than John the Baptist. There are many things they were permitted to do in the old testament because of the Hardness of Man’s Heart(Matthew 19:8). For Example, they were permitted to Divorce their wives and marry another, they were permitted to Marry more than one wife, they were permitted to Hate their enemies, they were permitted to take revenge on whoever harms them and many other things like that. These were all permitted in the old testament because Man’s Heart was too Hard to Understand the True meaning of God’s Laws. But when Jesus came, He came with Grace(John 1:17). Grace that softens Man’s Heart. Grace that takes away the Heart of Stone. And Because Grace is now Available, we can rise to a standard of Life that Exceeds All those who Lived in the Old Covenant. We can come to a Level of Life that is Far Greater than that of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Joseph, David….. In fact a Life of Righteousness that Exceeds ALL the Heroes of Faith Mentioned in Hebrews 11:1-38. Because at the End of that Chapter (Verse 40), God said He has provided Something Better for Us!!!! The better thing God has provided for Us is Grace that takes us Higher than what the Scribes and Pharisees had.
What is the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees? It is a Righteousness that only concentrate on the External keeping of the Laws. It is a Righteousness that makes people Holy on the outside but not inside. It is a Righteousness that Stops You from murdering but does not stop you from getting Angry. It is a Righteousness that stops You from committing Adultery but does not stop you from Lusting. It is a Righteousness that makes You Love Your neighbor, but Cannot make You Love Your enemies and bless those who curse You. Hear the words of Jesus again “Unless Your Righteousness Exceeds All these, You will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven” This is why we must fear lest we come short of the Grace of God.
Jesus called the scribe and Pharisees “Hypocrite!!!” Because they Cleanse the Outside of the Cup of their Lives but inside is filled with Extortion and Self-indulgence(Matt 23:25). If we are more concerned about What people see and say about Us than what God thinks about our inner lives and motives, then we are still at the Level of Righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes. If we Love to appear Righteous to Men but inside Full of Hypocrisy and Lawlessness, then we have not come to enjoy the Grace Jesus brought. If we only have a form of Godliness without the Power to Live above Sin, then we have not entered the Life described in the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit can bring us to a Higher Level of Life if we open ourselves to His Workings. Don’t ever accept a Gospel that tells You to Curse Your Enemies!!! It grieves my Heart when I hear Preachers Leading their congregations back to the Old Covenant. And I keep wondering “Have these people not read Matthew 5, 6 and 7? How come they can’t see the Difference between the Old Covenant Life and New Covenant Life? And when You try to Tell them, they will always come up with a clever explanation saying ” Enemies are so wicked! they are these, they are that. If you don’t destroy them, they will destroy You!” Well, We are not here to judge anyone, but we are here to Warn You. If You blindly Follow Your Leader in total disobedience to God’s word, Both of you will fall into a pit(Matt 15:14). So don’t ever settle for a Gospel that leads You back to a Lower Standard of Life.
Those who have not tasted of this Grace that Exceeds the Righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes don’t see Jesus as their Example. You hear them always Using David, Solomon, Elisha, Elijah as their Examples. Well, there are many things we can Learn from them, but they can never be the Standard of our Lives. I have seen Preachers who fell into Adultery and still remains the Leader of their church claiming that David also made Mistakes and God forgave Him!!! I have heard Preachers who got discouraged and Said Elijah also got discouraged and sat under a Tree asking God to take His Life that He is tired. I have heard Preachers who curse people and said Elisha also cursed children who called him bald headed. The moment you start finding Justification for your Sins in the Lives of Men who Lived before Grace came, then what you have is not the True Righteousness that Leads a Man into the Kingdom of Heaven. I beg You with the mercies of God, Don’t come short of the better life God has offered for Us.
Dear Friend, Jesus has come to raise Us higher than what the Law could do. There is a Righteousness that Exceeds what the Old Covenant people called Righteousness. There is a Life that supersedes what David enjoyed. David’s Cry in the Old testament was “Lord, you desire Truth in the inward parts But I don’t have it (Psalm 51:6).But those who have tasted Grace have a River of Living Waters flowing from the inward Part(John 7:38). All you need to do is Hunger and thirst for this Righteousness that Exceeds the Righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees. Don’t be satisfied with a standard of Life Lower than those who lived in the Old testament. And I can guarantee you that the Lord will meet with you, for He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God bless You. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus
The Righteousness of the Pharisees!!!