For the Christian disciple, our aim is to follow Jesus, empowered by our new relationship with him and pursuing what matters most to him: Glorifying our Father in heaven.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
“What kind of good works is Jesus talking about?”
“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Righteous Life is a God-enabled response to the God-given gift of redemption of God’s people.
The truth is: On our own, we cannot live the righteous life without experiencing the new life found only in Jesus Christ.
The reason is clear—Because Jesus alone fulfills God’s righteous law, he alone can lead us into the truly righteous life.
What did Jesus mean when he talked about fulfilling the law and how does that have powerful meaning for followers of Christ?
“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 say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Jesus Alone Fulfills God’s Righteous Law (Matthew 5:17-18)
What do we mean by the Law and the Prophets?
The Law was the first 5 books of the Bible, written by Moses, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.
When “the Law” is combined with “the Prophets” Jesus is essentially referring to the entire Old Testament.
How did Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets?
He fulfilled the types and symbols of the Old Testament.
He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.
He fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law by living perfectly obedient to God.
He fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law against sin on our behalf, which was death. He did this on the cross!
Jesus alone can lead us into the truly righteous life (Matthew 5:19-20)
“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
We need to understand the righteous life is a received life.
“Their righteousness is a given righteousness. Nowhere do we get the idea that the servant of God achieves in his own strength the kind of living that gives him standing before God.”
“The disciple had the advantage over the Pharisee in that his doing of the law is in fact perfect. How is such a thing possible? Because between the disciples and the law stands one who has perfectly fulfilled it, one with whom they live in communion. They are faced not with a law which has never yet been fulfilled, but with one whose demands have already been satisfied. The righteousness it demands is already there, the righteousness of Jesus which submits to the cross because that is what the law demands. . . He [Jesus] is the righteousness of the disciples."
What should we Listen-Learn-Live:
The truly righteous life is lived trusting in the Righteous One, Jesus.
The truly righteous life loves what Jesus loves—God’s Word.
The truly righteous life is a life of discipleship.