This content is part of a series.
Righteousness Redefined (11 of 26)
Series: Kingdom Life
''For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'' (Matt. 5:20).
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus tells his followers that he expects them to be different. In 5:17-20, he says the way they obey God's commands should be different from the way the scribes and Pharisees obey God's commands.
[Read Matthew 5:17-20.]
Over time, words often change their meaning. A few examples:
Referring to someone as a ''bully'' in the sixteenth century was like calling them ''darling'' or sweetheart.''
In the fourteenth century, ''awful'' meant ''inspiring wonder'' and was a short version of ''full of awe.''
The original meaning of a ''nice'' person was a ''foolish'' or ''silly'' person.
In the fifteenth century, a ''nervous'' person was actually ''sinewy and vigorous.''
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus redefined ''righteousness.''
ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM
Jesus declares, ''I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'' (v. 20). ''Righteousness'' is obedience to God's com-mands.
Does entrance into God's kingdom depend on our obedience to God's law? No, we enter God's kingdom through faith in Jesus.
Those who have entered God's kingdom possess a DIFFERENT KIND of righteousness.
Jesus wasn't saying that we need to be more righteous in the way that the scribes and Pharisees were righteous. He was saying that our righteousness is to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees because it's a better quality of righteousness.
JESUS DIDN'T ABOLISH THE LAW
Jesus says, ''Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets'' (v. 17). ''The Law [and] the Prophets'' refers to the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures. People were accusing Jesus ...
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