“For I tell you unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20
Righteousness is a concept that has been deeply ingrained in our society. It is often associated with perfection, moral uprightness, and an unwavering commitment to doing what is right. However, the truth about righteousness is much more nuanced than this outward show of perfection. True righteousness is found in the heart. According to Matthew 5:20, Jesus highlights the importance of looking beyond mere appearances regarding righteousness.
The heart of righteousness lies in our intentions and motivations behind our actions. We must seek to do what is right not because it will make us look good or gain us approval from others but because it aligns with our values and beliefs. I understand that righteousness is a term often thrown around by Christians, and some do not know what it means to be righteous. For example, some people believe that once they’re saved, they’re saved forever and can continue living sinful life. However, this view neglects an important scripture in Romans 8:1, which states, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Ezekiel 33:12 says, “Therefore, son of man, say to your people:’ The righteousness of the righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression; neither will the wickedness of the wicked man cause him to stumble on the day he turns from his evil. Nor will the righteous man be able to survive by his righteousness on the day he sins.”
This verse reveals the heart of righteousness – that it’s not just about being saved from eternal damnation but also about living a holy and blameless life. It’s not enough to profess faith in Jesus without making any effort to follow his teachings or live according to God’s will. True righteousness requires both faith and works. Remember, living a sinful life after being saved raises questions about the sincerity of one’s faith in Christ because the heart of righteousness lies not in the words we say but in the intent behind them.
It is impossible to claim to follow Jesus and continue living a life characterized by sin. 1 John 3:6-7 says, “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” Of course, it is important to recognize that none of us are perfect and will all fall short sometimes. However, there is a difference between falling into sin occasionally and habitually engaging in sinful behavior without remorse or effort toward repentance. Jesus himself said that we can’t serve two masters; we cannot serve God and our selfish desires. Amen. Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” Amen.
I pray that this devotion shall continuously remind you of living soberly, godly, and righteously in this present world in Jesus’ name. Amen.