Have you also thought about what Jesus meant when He said:
‘For I say to you, that except your righteousness EXCEED the righteousness of the SCRIBES and the PHARISEES…ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven’! (Matt 5:20)
Hmm… What could Jesus mean by this statement? It is very easy for us to conclude that Jesus meant that except we are VERY holy…SERIOUSLY holy…EXCEEDINGLY holy…above the holiness of the pharisees…you cannot enter heaven! Lol…! Wrong!
The question is this: what does Jesus imply by the ‘righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees’…which we are to exceed? Hmm…
Now listen carefully: you can NEVER be more HOLY than the pharisees and the Scribes!
Do you know who these guys are?
– they ‘hate’ sexual immorality so much that they were the ones who brought the adulterous woman to Jesus to stone her! (John 8:3-5)
– they were so holy that when Jesus met one of them…and gave him the Law…he said…‘All these have I kept from my youth up’! (Luke 18:21)
– they pay TITHE of PLANTS ….hmmn…! (Matt 23:23)
– they FAST twice every week (not year but week)! (Luke 18:12)
The list goes on!
Listen: no matter how much you try, you can NEVER attain the outward display of holiness as the Scribes and the Pharisees! Never! Hmm…
What then did Jesus imply by ‘except your righteousness EXCEEDS the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you shall in NO CASE enter the kingdom of Heaven?
Now follow carefully: the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees is scripturally referred to as the ‘RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW’! (Rom 10:5)
Now at this juncture, it is good you note that there are 2 kinds of Righteousness:
1) The righteousness of the Law! (Rom 10:5)
2) The righteousness of God without the Law! (Rom 3:21)
The first kind of righteousness (which is of the LAW) mentioned above is ACCORDING to your ability to keep the Laws of the Old Testament!
The second kind of righteousness (which is of God) mentioned above has NOTHING to do with your ability to do anything! IT IS A GIFT! It is a brand of righteousness which ONLY JESUS possesses! And He gives it to whosoever BELIEVES in Him! (Rom1:16-17, John 1:12)
Now listen: when Jesus said except your righteousness EXCEED the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees….He was referring to THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD which is only accessible by FAITH…and NOT by works! That is the only righteousness that can EXCEED the righteousness of the pharisees and scribes!
‘For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness EXCEED in glory.’ (2cor 3:10)
Hmm…. Listen: the ministration of condemnation refers to the dispensation of the LAW while the ministration of Righteousness refers to the dispensation of GRACE!
The verse above simply explained that It is only the Righteousness of GRACE that can EXCEED the Righteousness of the LAW! Hmm…. In case, you still need more clarification on this, take a look at what Paul said about the righteousness Jesus would always love to see in him:
‘And be found in Him (Jesus)….NOT having mine own RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH IS OF THE LAW …hmm….but that which is through the FAITH OF CHRIST, the RIGHTEOUSNESS which is OF GOD…by FAITH’! (Philippians 3:9)
Did you see that! I wish I could write more on the subject of these two kinds of righteousness. The day you became born again, God put into you HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS….as a GIFT….and this righteousness…EXCEEDS….the righteousness of the scribes and the pharisees!!! (Rom 8:4, 10:3). Hmm…. Let me conclude this teaching by showing you this verse which explains what happened when you BECAME born again!
‘For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be SIN for us, who (Jesus) knew no sin; that we (believers) might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD (not of the Law) in Him’! (2Cor 5:21)
Hallelujah! Listen: Under Law: righteousness is a POSSESSION!
But… Under Grace: righteousness is a POSITION!
You cannot ACCUMULATE the righteousness of God! You can only ACCOMODATE the righteousness of God!
Under Law: the just shall live by WORKS (rom 10:5)
Under Grace: the just shall live by FAITH! (Rom 1:17)
Wow! I guess I’m getting too excited to share on this wonderful revelation!
Shout it loud: ‘I AM THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS’!!!