In the series The Chosen, Jesus said to Matthew as he was working on the sermon on the mount, “I’m showing the multitude about a pattern of how to follow in the paths of righteousness.” The steps of following the Lord are progressive as we draw our steps and our hearts closer to him.
The fourth beatitude says, blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. A hunger for God’s righteousness is an acquired taste. God gives us a hunger for the things of God’s righteousness after we realize that without God we are poor in spirt. Then in humility and meekness seeking the things of the spirit we can embrace Jesus’ next beatitude... blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. It’s only by God’s grace and mercy that we are called of God and that he has given us the hunger and thirst for his Word and His righteousness.
Jesus said, blessed are the pure in heart.... those whose heart God has purified through the fire of trials and the crucible of tribulation. His deliverance is through the fire, by the fire or in the fire. God reveals his character in us after we have been purified by his refining fire. Therefore blessed are they when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you fralsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven. For the momentary sufferings of this present time are not sufficient to be compared to the glory that shall follow. His Character in us is revealed through these trials of proving and reproving... Our character is in the purity of the spirit of Christ in us the hope of glory.
Jesus came to deliver the message of God’s word to those whom God called... those whom God has filled with a hunger for his truth. The religious leaders didn’t recognize the truth. The Pharisees, the leaders of the temple thought they were righteous in their own prideful behavior. They thought they were the only ones deserving of righteousness, and that righteousness was in their own self righteous behavior.
However, in order to come unto the Lord, we must first recognize that we’re sinners in need of a saviour. He came to rescue us from a sentence of condemnation and death. For Christ came not into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.
Jesus said of the Pharisees, they tie heavy burdens to the people, but they themselves do not do them. They do all of their deeds to be seen of men. For they broaden their phylacteries that hold the Bible verses they memorized as a show to others that they are “scriptural”. They show off their tassels on their robes to indicate that they are superior to the congregation. They do everything to show off that they are righteous and that everyone else cannot measure up to their righteous behavior. Theirs is a works-based salvation. They think they are righteous in their own power.
The doctrine of the Pharisees is based on shame, guilt and condemnation. They preach that the congregation is unworthy for having fallen short of the Old Testament Law of sin and death. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of the Lord.
However, Jesus came to deliver a message of God’s grace and mercy instead of the self righteousness of the Pharisees. The true gospel is based on God’s grace... his unmerited favor. It’s not because of how good we are but because of how good God is. Grace, mercy, love and forgiveness are not our nature but the nature of God himself.
Jesus said, woe unto you scribes, you hypocrites. You neglect the weightier things of the law: Justice, grace, and mercy. You clean the outside of the dish but inside is rottenness, filth, and putrification. Self righteousness results in decay, degradation, and death.
The Old Testament law was given to show Israel that they could not measure up to God’s righteous standard... that in my own flesh dwelleth no good thing. Jesus said, don’t wear the title of teacher or rabbi if this is your selfish badge of honor to raise up your position so that you can put others down. if you live for the praise of others, then you have your reward... Your reward is not of God but of men.
Jesus said, unless your righteousness is above the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Righteousness is not of men but of God. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Sin is to miss the mark... to separate our hearts from God’s heart. The solution to sin is to reconcile our hearts to God, but we cannot approach a holy God in our own so-called righteousness. There is only one way to reconcile with God... for there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who was without sin was made the perfect sacrifice for sin on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.
The righteousness of Christ in us exceeds the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. Our righteousness is the righteousness of Christ who paid our debt of sin. Jesus said, come unto me all ye who are weary and are heavy laden (with the burdens of sin, guilt, shame, and death). Come unto me and I will give you rest (In the finished work of Christ.). For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. As we live in fellowship with Christ, he will uphold us with the power of the spirit of God.
In walking in the truth of the Word of God according to the spirit fo God in Christ in us, we will be witnesses of the truth. We will be a testimony of God’s grace, mercy, peace, and love as living testimonies to God’s righteousness... the righteousness of God in Christ in us...
... living epistles known and read of all men to the praise of the glory of His grace!
Your brother in Christ,