Righteousness does not come through living holy; rather holiness comes from being righteous. Don't work at this, God provided this for you in Jesus!
Kingdom Principle: Righteousness; Part I
Locate in Scripture: 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” (Matthew 5:20).
What a shock this statement must have been to everyone who heard it. The teachers and Pharisees were, by human standards, very righteous. They lived in such a way that righteousness could be observed in their lives. They practiced the letter of the law in each moment of every day. In fact, no one could accuse them of breaking any of the commandments because of the outward holiness that was exhibited. And yet Jesus said it was not enough.
Biblical righteousness can be defined as as ‘uprightness and right standing with God’. It does not come through living holy; rather holiness comes from being righteous. It does not come from living by the law in order to fulfill it; rather fulfillment of the law comes through being righteous.
God Requires Righteousness
Jesus spoke in-depth about righteousness, and yet He was very stern with those who appeared to be righteous. When criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners He replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32). In this statement we learn that the starting point is knowing that we are not enough. There is nothing we can do in our own to make us right with God. If we rely on ourselves then we are asking God to accept us on the basis of our righteousness. Jesus said the requirement far exceeds even the righteousness of the Pharisees!
Thankfully the requirement is met when we accept God’s righteousness through Jesus as a gift. In fact, Jesus was the plan from the very beginning (I Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). The plan was to make us right with God, giving us the required righteousness as a gift. This concept is the starting point to understanding our relationship with God. It is imperative to understand this amazing truth so that you will not work at earning what has already been given to you as a gift.
In this next Kingdom Principle topic, I will be laying the Biblical foundation for righteousness, what it is, why we need it, how it was provided in and how revelation of this truth changes lives.
Here are the topics that will be covered:
The Foundation of Righteousness
God is the Source of Righteousness
What is Self-Righteousness?
What is God’s Righteousness?
Jesus’ Role in Making Us Righteousness
The Gift of Righteousness
New Creation in Christ
Jesus instructed us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness...” (Matthew 6:33a). These two things were very important to Jesus so we must understand and live them. Please join me as we walk through the scriptures to look at the Kingdom Principle of righteousness.
Join me for Part II; 'The Foundation of Righteousness'.