The words of Christ:
Ã‚Â 17 Ã¢â‚¬Å“DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
20 Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I warn youÃ¢â‚¬â€unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Some interesting quotes from Matthew Henry’s:
Those who extenuate and encourage sin, and discountenance and put contempt upon strictness in religion and serious devotion, are the dregs of the church. But, on the other hand, Those are truly honorable, and of great account in the church of Christ, who lay out themselves by their life and doctrine to promote the purity and strictness of practical religion; who both do and teach that which is good; for those who do not as they teach, pull down with one hand what they build up with the other, and give themselves the lie, and tempt men to think that all religion is a delusion; but those who speak from experience, who live up to what they preach, are truly great; they honor God, and God will honor them (1 Sam. ii. 30), and hereafter they shall shine as the stars in the kingdom of our Father.
We must do more than they, and better than they, or we shall come short of heaven. They were partial in the law, and laid most stress upon the ritual part of it; but we must be universal, and not think it enough to give the priest his tithe, but must give God our hearts. They minded only the outside, but we must make conscience of inside godliness. They aimed at the praise and applause of men, but we must aim at acceptance with God: they were proud of what they did in religion, and trusted to it as a righteousness; but we, when we have done all, must deny ourselves, and say, We are unprofitable servants, and trust only to the righteousness of Christ; and thus we may go beyond the scribes and Pharisees.
Wow – every time I read stuff like this I am reminded of how far outside of the orbit of Christ I allow my life to drift. I still orbit, meaning my life still revolves around Christ and living for me is about being a part of what God is doing – but sometimes I just orbit way to far outside of his light, his blessing, and his holiness. Lucky for me, my life is not dependent on how well I do, but how much I trust God and allow him to bring me in closer.
We are going to sing that song this week, Closer by Charlie Hall… interesting.