"Except Your Righteousness Shall Exceed The
Righteousness Of The Scribes And Pharisees"
The scribes and pharisees were the most righteous men, outwardly, who ever lived. They lived by the ten commandments. According to the letter of the law, they were blameless. They paid tithes of all they possessed, fasted twice a week, and prayed three times a day. Yet, our Lord tells us that we must be more righteous than them, or we "shall in no case enter into the kindgom of heaven." The fact is that without perfect righteousness no one can ever enter into heaven (Rev. 21:27; -14). The righteousness required by God is a perfect righteousness, a righteousness which no mere man can produce. In order to enter that perfect kingdom we must be made perfectly righteous by the righteousness of Christ (Rom. ; II Cor. ). All who believe are made the righteousness of God in Christ by two distinct acts of grace.
l. The righteousness of Christ is imputed
to us in justification (
2. The righteousness of Christ is imparted to us in regeneration (II Pet. 1:2-4; I John 3:4-9). "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. ). If I am born again by the Spirit of God, I have a new nature created in my soul, a righteous nature is imparted to me, by which I reign as a king over the lusts and passions of my flesh. Yes, God's people do sin. Sin is mixed with all we do, so long as we live in this body of flesh. But sin no longer reigns over us. We are no longer under the dominion of sin (Rom. -16; Gal. -23). The believer's life is a life of faith, godliness and uprightness.