Daily Study from Lifeway’s “The Gospel Project”
We are used to seeing the Pharisees as the “bad guys” in the Gospel accounts, but in this passage, Jesus tells His listeners that “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven” (v. 20).
Given the fact that the Pharisees and scribes prided themselves in obeying every iota of the law, it might seem impossible for our righteousness to surpass theirs, but that is the standard that Jesus has given us. He tells us that murder and adultery begin in the heart (vv. 22,28). Further, He charges us to keep our word (v. 37), turn the other cheek (v. 39), and love our enemies (v. 44).
The Pharisees were quite good at following laws they built around Scripture’s laws, but that is not what Jesus is doing here. Instead of adding to the law, He is piercing through to the heart of the law, exposing mere outward compliance for what it is: a failure to submit to the Lord in our hearts. Our righteousness must come from a transformed heart instead of surface obedience.
How can we tell the difference between outward compliance to the law and inward compliance?
Stay Thirsty for Righteousness My Friends…