Matthew 5:20 – Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the dominion of heaven.
I guess I really don't want to hear that I am supposed to be perfect, yet there is a theme throughout scriptures that points us toward perfection:
Matthew 5:48 – Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Now I like the way the New English Bible puts this passage from Matthew:
- "There must be no limit to your goodness, as your heavenly Father's goodness knows no bounds."
There have been some things in my life I have just never been able to reach, to attain, to live up to. In my growing days it was the reputation of my "big brother Jim". Every organization in town, every grade in school, yes even Sunday School, held his presence. "Are you like your brother Jim?" was the first question in Scouts where brother Jim achieved the status of Queen's Scout. It was the first question in school where Jim achieved honours year after year. He was the youngest person ever to receive his pilot's license through the air cadets. The unspoken question in Sunday School where Jim had memorized everything from the Twenty-Third Psalm to the entire Primary Catechism was, "Can you be this good?"
Can you be as good as Jim? Can you be better? And then I married Jeanne and it began all over again. God preserve us from all such vain comparisons! Yet here is the Bible and here is our Lord doing something not all that different. Can you be as good as the scribes? Can your righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees (who made a point by the way, of observing all 613 regulations in the law of Moses). And we're supposed to be as good as them, no… better than them? Ha!
Only in the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ can I find the strength to live a life of love.
Prayer: Loving Lord, help me this day to be all that I can be and in your mercy, let me follow the more excellent way through Christ my Lord. Amen.