Beyond Rules: Jesus’ Call to True Righteousness

Many grapple with achieving God's standards and pleasing Him. Traditionally, righteousness is seen as following rules and rituals.

Matthew 5:20“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Many grapple with achieving God’s standards and pleasing Him. Traditionally, righteousness is seen as following rules and rituals.

The Problem: External Righteousness

Jesus challenges this view in Matthew 5:20.

He says our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees, known for meticulous rule-following. Their focus was external actions, neglecting the heart of the Law: love for God and neighbor.

This kind of righteousness is superficial and self-serving.

The Solution: Grace and True Righteousness

True righteousness isn’t achieved by our efforts. The answer lies in:

  • Grace: God’s grace forgives, cleanses, and empowers us. It transforms our hearts and enables us to live for Him. Righteousness comes from His work in us, not our own.
  • Jesus: He saves, teaches, and leads us. His sacrifice and intercession make us righteous, not by imitation, but by His presence within us.

Following Jesus’ Way

To live out this higher righteousness, we need to:

  • Examine Our Motives: Focus on our inner thoughts and attitudes, not just outward actions. We must avoid both outward sins and inward sins like anger, pride, or envy.
  • Love, Not Just Law: Seek the spirit of the Law, which is love. We practice the positive aspects of “doing good” and “showing mercy” alongside avoiding negativity like “lying” or “stealing.”
  • Internal and External: We demonstrate both internal signs of faith like humility and sincerity, and external acts like fasting, praying, and giving generously. Our goal is to please God, who sees our hearts, not impress others.

The Invitation: A Higher Calling

Jesus calls us to a deeper righteousness, one leading to the Kingdom of Heaven.

This call is not a burden but a blessing, a gift of true connection with God.

Prayer for True Righteousness

“Lord Jesus, I confess my sin and need Your grace. I believe You died for my sins and rose again for my righteousness. I accept Your call to a higher righteousness, surpassing that of the Pharisees, leading to Your kingdom. I surrender my life and follow Your way. Forgive, cleanse, and empower me. Be my Lord, Savior, and Example. Be my Righteousness, not by my imitation, but by Your indwelling. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations! You’ve embarked on a life-changing journey.

Next Steps: Growing in Faith

  • Find a Bible-believing church for fellowship and growth.
  • Read the Bible and pray daily to deepen your relationship with God.
  • Share your testimony to inspire others to seek Jesus and His righteousness.

May God bless you on your path with Him.

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