DEVOTION:What Kind Of Righteousness Do You Have?

Jesus made the following declaration regarding the Law:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19


Then He made the following statement about righteousness that seemed to be out of place.

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20


The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were focus on keeping the law in order to achieve righteousness. Unfortunately, their righteousness was false and legalistic and was based on their own works of the Law.  This ultimately was self-righteousness, which was not sufficient to satisfy the demands of a Holy God.

This is what the Apostle Paul, a former Pharisees said about this kind of righteousness.

I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  Philippians 3:8b-9


Then speaking about these Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and his Jewish people, Paul stated:

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:2-3


In the following passage, the Apostle Paul continues to explain why the righteousness of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law could not qualify anyone to enter the Kingdom of God.

We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:15-16

It is clear from these passages that the self-righteousness of the Phariseess and the teachers of the law was not sufficient to earn anyone a ticket to Heaven.  That is is the reason why Christ came to die for the world.



1.        Here is a question for you: Are you righteous? If yes, what is the basis of your righteousness? If no, why not?

2.        On a scale of 1-10, and 10 being the best, what level is your righteousness?

3.        Do you understand how one can be considered righteous? Can you explain this to someone else?

4.        How does one become righteous? Write down passages of scripture that helps to explain or support your answer.

5.        If you have difficulty understanding how one can be considered righteous before the Lord, talk to your Pastor or someone else who understands this. And if I can be of any help, do not hesitate to let me know.

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses

 That of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law,

You will certainly not enter

 The kingdom of heaven.

 Matthew 5:20


In Light of This


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