HIS righteousness and our righteousness

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of the heavens (Matt.5:20)

HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Eternal life is a free gift of God. We were dead in sins and trespasses and were not capable of doing any work or righteousness. But God has saved us according to His mercy and not by works of righteousness which we have done (Eph.2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). So, in relation to eternal issues, all our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isa.64:6), having no value at all. But, in relation to the entry and positions in the coming kingdom, our Lord declared very clearly, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of the heavens” (Matt.5:20).

To receive eternal life we have to simply believe on the work accomplished on our behalf by our Lord on the cross of Calvary (Acts 16:30, 31; John 3:16; 1:12; Rom.5:1). No man can ever add anything to it by his own works. But if we want to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, the Lord demands that our righteous works should exceed the righteous works of scribes and Pharisees. The Pharisees strictly observe the laws mentioned in Matt.5:21, 27, 33, 38 and 43. But we who have become the children of God, purchased by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, must exceed the Pharisees in works of righteousness. God desires to see the likeness and image of His son formed in all His children (Rom.8:29; Gal.4:19). The exceeding righteousness, which God expects from us, is clearly described in the verses following each of the above laws in Matthews Chapter five.

THE EXCEEDING RIGHTEOUSNESS

For example, the Pharisees strictly follow the law which says, “You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment” (Matt.5:21, Ex.20:13). But we who have become the children of God, even if we conceal the slightest anger, hatred or ill-will against a brother, we will be unfit to enter into His kingdom and we will be facing the danger of Gehenna (outside the kingdom) in the coming age (Matt.5:22). Very often we presume, “I do not have anything in my heart against anyone.” But our Lord who demands a greater righteousness from us said, even if “thy brother has anything against thee,” go and first be reconciled with thy brother (Matt.5:23, 24). Please remember that we all, believers, are on our way towards the judgment seat of Christ (2Cor.5:10, Rom.14:10, 12). The Lord’s coming for His own may occur at any moment, or else our life may end at any moment. We may not get another opportunity to be reconciled with others, before we stand before the Judge. So while we are yet “on the way” let us be reconciled quickly with one-another so that when we stand before Him we may be counted worthy to enter into His coming glorious kingdom and partake in His glory and power. Otherwise we will forfeit the blessings of participating in His kingdom and will find ourselves cast outside, “till we have paid the uttermost farthing” (Matt.5:25, 26; Matt.18:34, 35).