“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.”
There’s a reason why self-righteousness can never measure up to the standards of God. In the case of the Scribes and Pharisees, they kept to all the laws they knew, going as far as to fight Jesus when it seemed like He broke one of their rules.
But even with all their attempts at attaining righteousness, it was obvious from their actions that their hearts were still filthy. Not for one moment did Jesus find anything worthy of praise in them.
In our passage, we hear Him say that the acceptable righteousness would have to exceed that of the Pharisees. These were people breaking their backs to keep every rule, and yet it was not enough. Their law told them adultery was being with another woman outside their marriage, but Jesus told them that the act was already committed once they thought about it.
How does one possibly live up to that standard? Do you see why every attempt made in our own power will always be futile? Come to Jesus, accept the price He has already paid, and then submit to the renewing of the Holy Ghost. That’s the true path to acceptable righteousness.
Further study: Galatians 5:1-6, Romans 9: 30-32
Thought for today: The only way to justification and righteousness is Jesus.