In Matthew Chapter 5 we read Yeshua/Jesus dealing with the Fact that He wasn’t doing away with the Law. This is the “go to” verses for one who tries to walk rightly. I don’t think I’ve made a post about 5:20 yet. The context “Christianity” offers for this passage about upholding the Law is “Jesus kept the Law so I don’t have to”, or “Jesus completed the Law”, or even that “Jesus did away with the Law” (though many will argue for fulfilled, not say done away with. But will say we no longer have to uphold the Law). The issue here is the 5:20 statement tells us the key to the whole discussion. Let’s see the 5:20 statement, then see if we can find a place in the Bible which explains the “Righteousness of the Pharisees”, then see if we can identify what it looks like to surpass that level of righteousness.
“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 God.”
We can see that Yeshua/Jesus says we must exceed the Pharisees righteousness, or we will not get into the Kingdom of His Father. This is a big deal, after all we know the Pharisees were the “Teachers of Fathers/Gods Law”. They were the upper level of religious practices. So, what exactly is the righteousness Yeshua/Jesus wants us to surpass?
We need to not just guess at this verse. We need to not ask the Holy Bible to validate our claims. We need to actually use the Holy Bible to cause us to renew our mind to Father/God and His ways. We need to use the Word of God to measure what we think we believe about what it’s saying.
“What is the righteousness of the Pharisees, He is asking us to surpass”? (According to the Bible)
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’” Matthew 23:1-7
We can clearly see that they taught the Torah/Gods Instructions. Yeshua/Jesus said for the people to follow what they taught, but do not follow their example. As they were hypocrites. They did everything to be seen as religious leaders. However they lived not doing what they themselves taught. They failed at following their own teachings.
This is a huge key to understanding what righteousness Yeshua/Jesus is discussing. In 5:20 we are strongly warned about our behaviors and beliefs. We must surpass those Pharisees who taught Father/Gods Instructions but failed to walk them out. We need to actually walk them out as Yeshua/Jesus preached them. We should follow Yeshua/Jesus example instead of the Pharisees. This is the context for the rest of His discussion on if He did away with the law. Let’s now see how this makes sense in modern church beliefs.
Our context understanding tells us that Yeshua/Jesus said “you will not enter the Kingdom of God, unless you go above the Pharisees who were hypocrites, who taught the Law, but failed to keep the Law themselves. You must keep it, not just teach it”.
The context the churches tell us is “don’t be hypocrites saying on things and doing another. Jesus died for us to we don’t have to actually keep the Law”.
The issue here is that what’s being said in churches don’t actually match Gods Word. This is a problem if we don’t actually follow the Holy Book we claim is true. We adapt a more Roman view of “what is truth”? Meaning we can make up our own truths. Or perhaps what I’m suggesting here is a more solid foundation, following the Bible as written. Let’s see the rest of the Law and Messiah in proper context now.
““Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”
I know my understanding is good just by it’s backed up by scripture. If we see the context Yeshua/Jesus says “Heaven and earth must pass away, before any part of the Law/Torah is made void”. He also states that, “if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do this, you are called least in the Kingdom”. Also He concludes with a statement of “don’t just teach Torah/Law, but actually walk it out yourselves”. We can affirm this with His opening statement.
“Do not think
that I came to abolish
the Torah/Law or the writings of
the prophets”. Jesus of Nazareth
Do not think, in other words never think. Yet the church thinks and believes something the Bible doesn’t back up. Why?
The same reasons that Yeshua/Jesus condemns the Pharisees. For not actually following His Fathers Instructions themselves. How do I know this? Because of what I’ve written above and also….. because what’s written below FROM THE HOLY BIBLE!!!
“Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ ”” Matthew 15:1-9
Those religious leaders were teaching things that clashed with the Word of God. They were teaching traditions that they came up with, in place of the Word of God. Just like today. Today churches teach what man says they must teach. They are trained to say “Jesus did away with the law”, trained away from Gods Instructions. They are trained how to twist scripture to serve sin, not preach repentance. I once walked in what I was taught by men, now I walk in and preach and teach what the Word of God ACTUALLY says as written.
The authority in my life is Him, not men. I measure everything by His Book. I try to walk out His Commandments because He said to. I also believe we must be better than the hypocrites who teach and preach, but don’t live out what they say. In this, I feel not entering into the Kingdom of God, because you live as a hypocrite. Also, not entering the Kingdom of God, because you don’t walk out Fathers Instructions, for me is a scary proposition.
What if I kept the religious ways perfectly, yet failed to actually walk out as Father Commanded? What if I had religion down, but didn’t behave as a true follower of Christ? What if I had faith, that produced no works (fruit)?
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.”
So we can see that our fruit is obedience to God and His Instructions. We can see we are asked to walk out our faith through our desire to Love Him and Follow His Ways. We can see that our fruits show we are His and Follow Him.
““Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
In the end of it all, those who are His will walk as He walked. Or at least attempt it. Where those who are not His will not. Those who walk His ways will grasp that they must walk better then the Pharisees did. Not more religious, not more for show, not teaching others one thing and living out another. We can clearly see that His ways are for those who are His. Those who are not will simply reject them either by mouth or how they live. Faith without works is dead and useless. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Hypocrisy will never inherit the Kingdom. Walking lawlessly shows bad fruit and does not bear out the best good works.
We are indeed saved by Grace through Faith, yet…. if your faith doesn’t change you to follow His Instructions and ways, if you’re still conformed to the world, then your fruit and mine will bear this out. How we live is a direct reflection of our faith or lack of it.
I will either walk Godly or Worldly, so is true of you.
It is my hope today that we REPENT AND RETURN now to His ways before we are consumed or destroyed by the world around us.
The context of the righteousness needed to be surpassed by us over those Pharisees. It’s following not just speaking or teaching Fathers Commandments. But actually and actively putting them into practice in our lives.
May your fruit bear out what your mouth says. Also mine too.
Shalom and God Bless.