Faith In Him

Matthew 5:20  For I say unto you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  This is a verse from the Sermon on the Mount.  Christ explained the meaning of the law of God and told people that they had to have more righteousness than they could come up with on their own. The Scribes and Pharisees had external self-derived righteousness based on their flawed knowledge of the Old Testament.  Why? Because they considered themselves righteous but found that they could not keep the law.  If you can’t keep the law, you change the law to prove your righteousness.  It was all external for them but the bible says in Samuel 16:7: 

...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  The Scribes and Pharisee had over 613 laws which they created to live by, yet damned whoever tried to obey them.  On one trip to Israel our tour guide Yehuda tried to explain how exacting they were on the laws.  The Talmud said you had to wash your hands before meals. They debated what washing meant.  Do you wash the hand to the wrist, the middle of the arm, or all the way to the elbow?  Is washing work?  If so can, you wash on the Sabbath? They did this with everything!  What they failed to see was that God’s law was given for the purpose of pointing out that no one could ever measure up to God’s holy standard. The real law of God, wasn't to tell anyone how good they are or to earn their way to heaven. It was to show how in need of God’s salvation we are. 

The people looked at the hyper-religious Scribes and Pharisees and said we can never be as righteous as them. Christ was telling everyone that system is artificial and will never save you.  Jesus wanted people to repent and turn away from self-righteousness.  He always looked at what was inside a person not the outside. When Christ looked at the Scribes and Pharisees and saw their hypocrisy, he called them out on it.  In the parable of the tax collector and the sinner (Luke 18:9-14) he tried again to get the Pharisees to understand their condition.

The point is God wants repentance and a clean heart. Not some human-made religious system based on works righteousness.   Jesus came to fulfill the law completely and he did.  It is faith in Him that saves us. Nothing else.

Matt Schneider

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