Read Matthew 5:17-20
17 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 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. 19 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 practises and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 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.
This text comes near the beginning of the famous ‘sermon on the mount’ Jesus has just spoken about those who are blessed (The Beatitudes) and how His followers are to be Salt and Light. What Jesus taught was in the context of the quality of life that those who embraced the Kindom, responding to God’s invitation to live a new life and experience a new birth. All of Jesus’ teaching is Kingdom infused. This was not so much as to replace the Law and the Prophets as to fulfil or transcend the Law and the Prophets. This was new teaching and with authority. Authority greater than that of Moses or any of the Prophets.
Jesus lived and taught a kingdom life, a revolutionary counter cultural set of ethics that turned things upside down, or rather, the right way up.
The possibility of having a righteousness that surpasses the religious leaders comes only through an internal heart attitude, not through external practices. This is grace in action not earning God’s favour. How is your heart attitude? How is your character becoming more Christ like?
Today, ask the Holy Spirit to form Christ like character in you? You may want to pause and reflect in the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23