“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
This is impossible.
There is no way I can keep up with the Champions of Rule Keeping.
These guys washed, walked, and worked by the rules.
Every rule of law God set down at the beginning they followed.
They prayed the best prayers.
They sang the right songs.
They gave the best offerings.
They separated their mint, dill and cumin right down to the last tiny seed.
They pointed the right fingers and they stoned the right people.
And they never, ever lifted a finger on the Sabbath.
Nary a grain of wheat would pass through their hands on that day.
These Champions of Rule-Keeping made sure Jesus knew about that one.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cumin,
but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law:
justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
A must-keep-the-rules-or-else-religion hurts.
It hurts really bad.
Mercy is nowhere to be found.
Those gnat-strainers and camel- swallowers had it backwards thinking judgment should prevail over all, no matter what. Break a rule, get punished.
But like a guy named James once said, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” And later…”mercy triumphs over judgment.”
See, by hanging out with Jesus, your religion changes. So does your righteousness.
You start championing something greater than keeping every rule.
You start championing Jesus and wanting to be like Him.
You realize your righteousness can be summed up by two rules.
Loving God and loving people.
Something worth championing for.
“Christ will do everything for you or nothing. He’s either all of your righteousness or none.”- Tim Keller