"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."                                 Matthew 5:20


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 every week, and prayed three times every day.


Yet, our Lord tells us that we must be more righteous than them, or we "shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The fact is that without perfect righteousness no one can ever enter into heaven (Rev. 21:27; 22:11-14).


"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27)


"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." )Revelation 22:11-14)


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. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:21). 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 God’s elect in justification (Rom. 4:3-8). Our sin was imputed to Christ at Calvary. Though he never committed sin, he was made to be sin, and became responsible under the law for our sins, as our Substitute. In exactly the same way, the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to all who trust the Lord Jesus Christ, though we never have performed a righteous deed. Just as the law punished Christ for our sin, which was legally imputed to him, the law of God rewards every believer for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.


2.  The righteousness of Christ is imparted to redeemed sinners in regeneration (2 Pet. 1:2-4; 1 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” (2 Cor. 5:17). 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. 6:14-16; Gal. 5:22-23). The believer's life is a life of faith, godliness and uprightness.


Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #778

2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438

Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email