Righteousness, The Pharisees, and You - Part 1
Have you ever wondered what it really means to be righteous? Have you ever wondered what it means to have your righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees & Scribes as Jesus (his Hebrew name Yeshua) spoke about in Matthew chapter 5?
"For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Just what Christ was saying here? It’s obvious from this and other passages, he did not approve of the Scribes and Pharisees in some way, in the least, their actions. Yet, apparently they did have some type of righteousness. This leads us to ask, “what is their righteousness that we must exceed?” Before we can answer that question, we must first be able to answer the question, “What is Righteousness?” We need to have their understanding of what righteousness was to them; but, we have to do this without having any “New Testament”. The New Testament did not yet exist, so, let us turn to the “Old Testament (or 1st Covenant) to find their definition.
Part 1: What is Righteousness to the Pharisees & Scribes
It will be righteousness for us if are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.
Based on Deuteronomy, our righteousness is linked to our obedience of Yahweh’s commandment/Torah/Law. This seems straight forward, but there are some who will notice the singular form of “commandment” was used, meaning pertaining to a single commandment/law from God/Yahweh. Let us address this by going back to verse 24 for some context to find what Moses is talking about.
So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
The commandment spoken of in verse 25 is telling us to observe all of the statutes just relayed and those being relayed, to them; namely, the whole law of God. There is much more here, but this should suffice for our current study, but please, go back and at least read all of Chapter 6 to have an even greater understanding with more context. The central theme of what is known as Deuteronomy 6, is to keep all of the commandments Yahweh gave via Moses. This should make it clear which commandment our righteousness was linked to, that of our obedience to ALL Yahweh commanded! Simply put, our righteousness stems from, or can be defined as, our obedience to God. We believe this is the definition Christ was using, and the standard by which the Pharisees & Scribes considered themselves to be righteous.
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