Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tues., 1/5/16 Devotion (Matt. 5:20)

Today's encouragement comes from Matthew 5:20, where we read these words of Christ:

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of hea-ven."

When Jesus said these words (above) to His disciples, in His "Sermon on the Mount," it undoubtedly raised some eyebrows. After all, how could anybody do more “righteous-izing” than the scribes and Pharisees? They “out-godded" God at every turn. If the Lord said, "Fast once a year"; they would fast twice a week. And yet their "righteousness" was not even close to being good enough to get to heaven. Why? . . .

. . . Because sinners have to appear before God--even now--as perfect, (with no flaw or sin whatsoever). And how does anyone get to this condition? Are there enough works or deeds or efforts that can be expended, to get perfect? No. Only Jesus is perfect. We must possess *His* righteousness, by faith, wherein it is imputed to our souls. Let the faithful church rejoice that we have this glorious and perfect standing, in Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "And so to come into God's presence is the great-est joy for a godly man in this life, to come into God's presence in His ordin-ances in His Church.” —Christopher Love, in "The Dejected Soul's Cure"]