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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 NIV)
Practices and teaches. This is the order. Too often, it has been teaches, and then maybe practices. I am first invited to live these things so that I can speak wisely of them.
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. (Matthew 5:20 NIV)
I’m tempted to hear “righteousness surpasses” with legalistic or perfectionistic ears. Then, I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But when I hear these words with ears of loving and being loved, I am encouraged and hopeful. I feel cared for when I realize that Jesus is the One fulfilling all that God desires and requires
Jesus, what is it looking like in this season that You are fulfilling every detail of righteousness for me and in me?
Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom. (Matthew 5:20 MSG)
I’m tempted under the burden of the law to abolish it–get out from under it. It isn’t quite that I seek relief in lawlessness, but that I am weary of feeling overwhelmed by what I do not feel I can fulfill. How much better to experience its fulfillment in me by Jesus, that He makes me right with Himself and with others.
Righteousness today is about orienting myself to Jesus, watching for and listening for His goodness, His way. His way is right and righteousness. This is truly inviting to me. Rightness in me today will be a fruit of communion with the Righteous One. Abiding is a way of living, not just a place to visit like a pit stop.