Exceeding Righteousness

Watering the Tulips

January 9, 2012

 

“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!  You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer” – Psalms 4:1

We have no righteousness of our own.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul plainly said, As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’” (Romans 3:10).  Simply put, God can have no fellowship with an unrighteous people…like fallen men.  Since we all fell in Adam, this means we could not be worse off spiritually than we are.  God is righteous.  We are not.  Therefore, there is a gap there which must be overcome somehow if we are to escape His righteous wrath and live with Him eternally.

Religion certainly is not the way.  Many in the world today are religious and are yet dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1).  There was not a more religious group than the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.   Our Lord said to His disciples, “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 heaven” (Matthew 5:20).  And yet, the disciples fell in Adam just like the scribes and Pharisees. 

The Pharisees, like many today, sought reconciliation with God through ceremonial acts.  They wrongly believed that their adherence to excessive Jewish ceremonialism was their ticket into Heaven.  Jesus continually made it plain that it was not….and they hated Him all the more for it.  He didn’t fit any mold that they had mentally created of the Messiah.  He didn’t spend a moment trying to please them or keep their man-made traditions.  They ultimately nailed Him to a cross for just that reason.

And yet, they were sinners and He was righteous!  Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”.  They fell in Adam.  They were guilty.  They were sinners.  They were unrighteous.  Yet, Jesus was sinless and righteous.  They were full of religion and ceremonialism.  He was not.  And yet, the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). 

So, how is our righteousness to exceed the scribes and Pharisees?  We are as guilty before God as they were.  We are naturally as unrighteous as they were.  When Adam fell, we fell along right with the Pharisees.  So, what are we to do?  Can we seek righteousness with God through church attendance, church membership, baptism, tithing, praying, or any other ceremony or tradition?  A thousand times no!  This was the way of the Pharisees and they rejected the Savior!

There is one way to be declared righteous before God…one way!!  We must approach God through His Son.   As believers, our sins were imputed to Christ on the cross of Calvary.  In turn, His righteousness was imputed to us.  His righteousness is a complete righteousness.  It’s perfect.  It’s holy.  If one day we stand before God in Him, we will be declared “not guilty”. 

Child of God, take this moment to thank God for the righteousness He freely gave us in His Son.  Reader, if you are approaching God through any merit or action of your own, your righteousness will not exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees.

Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL.  For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net.  “Your App to the Gospel” is available the iTunes app store as well as Google Play.  Please download it today!

 

 

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