It is possible to have a form (or appearance) of godliness without being truly god-like (2 Timothy 3:5). The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were quite religious but fell woefully short of the righteousness necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). You and I can do in the twenty-first century what they did in the first.
In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus gives five explicit examples of how the kingdom of heaven’s requirements for righteousness are different from the righteousness promoted by the Pharisees. It is clear genuine righteousness has no short cuts. Nothing phony or watered down is acceptable. “Fake it ‘til you make it” is fatally flawed.
With supreme confidence and incredible authority, Jesus—in precise fulfillment of the Prophet foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18—juxtapositions “you have heard it said…” with “But I say to you…” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28,33-34, 38-39, 43-44). When it comes to righteousness, it is crystal clear Jesus knows a thing or two about a thing or two.
He should, since He is the King of the kingdom of heaven.