Trying hard to be righteous?

The people of the world will tell you that being a good person is all that is needed. They may even quote Jesus and say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and you shall surely be okay with God—right? Who needs to be a Christian!? Just do good to others and don’t play around with another man’s wife etc and all that? In fact many people in the world have some idea about what the Ten Commandments say and they sort of agree with them and are doing their best to keep them.

They fail on many counts of course, chiefly they break the First commandment by having other gods before the true and only God. They may have lied once or twice…ha ha maybe thousands of lies over many years….just little lies though…surely God understands? Right?

They may have never committed the act of adultery with another man’s wife…but instead they view pornography and fornicate with many strangers in a virtual imagined way which Jesus said is the exact same thing as committing adultery. The penalty for adultery is to be stoned to death!

Mat 5:27  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’ 
Mat 5:28  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart

Thus all those who think that it is good enough to try to please God by keeping the Law of God have failed terribly on many occasions to do so. I certainly have! What about you?

Jesus made it very plain to all the people striving hard to keep the Law that the law is even harder to keep than they had ever imagined.

Mat 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Admit it. You are a sinner in need of a Saviour right? You might argue and say—I have never killed anyone! Never committed adultery…never lied(that’s a lie) never coveted anything that is my neighbours!(another lie)..go on…argue some more–God knows all things even if you have deceived yourself and convinced yourself that you are innocent of all charges.  As for me I admit it and confess my sin to God–I have failed to keep Your Law God..I deserve Your judgement and wrath! But I hope for Your MERCY and I need your LOVE!

For many Christians…life as a believer is this same sinning and failing –then repenting confessing and getting up and trying again to do better next time….only to repeat the whole thing again and again.

They are convinced that the Law of God must be kept in order to be righteous. They reason that now that they have Jesus they should be able to NOT SIN. Hmmmm? Let’s look at something together.

Your Righteousness versus God’s Righteousness

  Mat 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

The LORD Jesus was bringing His listeners under the full weight of the Holy Law of God on purpose.  Jesus made the Law extremely hard or even impossible to keep to show all that they are sinners who break the Law. He spoke about YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS saying that UNLESS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEEDS that of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. What a statement!!

So poor little Christian reads Jesus words. She has no understanding of the New Covenant which was revealed by revelation to the perfect law keeper, Saul of Tarsus who became known as Paul the Apostle.

Jesus words hang over our heads pushing us to strive to keep the law, to please God otherwise we shall by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven!! And in most people’s theology that means we shall go to Hell and later the Lake of Fire forever and ever and ever. Unless our righteousness EXCEEDS that of the scribes and pharisees we shall end up in the fire!! Do you hear Jesus or not?!!!

Yet hang on a minute! Doesn’t the Bible say that all our righteousness is not enough?  Yes it does.

Isa 64:6  But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Even if you were to be able to produce a righteousness that exceeds the Pharisees it would still NOT BE RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. It would still be YOUR righteousness. What am I saying?

There are two righteousness’ spoken of all through Scripture – YOURS AND GODS’.

Paul speaks of it in Romans.

Rom 10:1  Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
Rom 10:2  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
Rom 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Their OWN righteousness was based upon trying to keep the law of Moses and all the other laws their rabi’s had made as well.  Whereas God’s righteousness is CHRIST HIMSELF!

Don’t miss this. This is the heart of the Gospel right here. CHRIST JESUS IS THE END OR GOAL of the Law for righteousness to everyone who BELIEVES.

God’s righteousness does NOT DEPEND upon you doing anything other than BELIEVING that you ARE RIGHTEOUS by a gift from God. That gift is Jesus Christ given to you to be your very life and your very  righteousness.

Paul was a righteous law keeping Pharisee before coming to faith in Jesus. He said that all that righteousness was DUNG!! So he gladly let it all go and received Jesus Himself as his gift of righteousness from a loving Father.

Php 3:6 …….. concerning the righteousness which is in the law, (Paul was) blameless.
Php 3:7  But what things were gain to me(his own righteousness), these I have counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Php 3:9  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness,which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

If we seek to establish our own righteousness through trying to be a good Christian we are setting Jesus aside and saying to God….

“No God…keep your righteousness…I will prove to you that I am worthy of the Kingdom by doing my darndest to be like Jesus.

The result of that is that we fall again and again under the rule and power of sin. Then we have a choice to confess it and take Jesus as our only righteousness OR confess it and try harder next time to be good and not do bad. If we choose the latter–then the cycle shall continue UNTIL WE COME TO THE END OF ALL OUR TRYING!

This is the only purpose for the Law. TO SHOW US ALL THAT WE ARE UNABLE TO KEEP IT!! So why are you still trying to keep it? Do you like feeling condemned all the time? Do you enjoy pretending to others that you are some righteous person who does not sin? Come on!!?

Jesus Christ  is the end of all your trying to please God. Accept Him as your LIFE and as YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS TODAY and breath a sigh of relief.


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