Genuine Righteousness


     Superficial righteousness does not fool God. Its counterfeit currency is not accepted in the kingdom of heaven.

     As clearly exposed by Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees promoted superficial righteousness by employing selective obedience. Consider the words of Matthew 5:21-22—”You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

     Without a doubt, the Law of Moses condemned murder (Exodus 20:13). On this Jesus agreed with the scribes and Pharisees. Ignored by these proponents of superficial righteousness (but not by Jesus) was the teaching of Leviticus 19:17-18—”You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

     The scribes and Pharisees unequivocally condemned the hands of murder but not the heart of hatred and animosity which spawns it. Jesus does.

     Murderous hands are the wicked outgrowth of an unrighteous, murderous heart. The telltale signs of such a heart are constant, inward hostility and vicious, abusive speech when angry. Such things are not simply a weakness; they are wickedness.

     “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15).

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Author: jchowning

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