213. Kingdom entry. (Condition 1)
"For I tell you that unless your righteousness SURPASSES that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." ( Matthew 5:20) Jesus bluntly (in an uncompromisingly forthright way) told the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, who thought of themselves to be the most devout people in Israel, that they certainly will not enter the kingdom of God, because their self-righteousness did not measure upto the high standard set by God for entry into his kingdom. In short, none without the righteousness of God, will be allowed to enter the kingdom of God! 'To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told them the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector; how the tax collector went home justified before God but not the Pharisee! (Luke 18:9-14) Its not enough that the measure of our righteousness be equal to that of the Pharisees but must surpass their's, to enter the kingdom of God! How can that be? The Pharisees were the most orthodox of the Jews and as far as the obedience to the law was concerned, they were faultless! Since their confidence was in their flesh, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. 'Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.' ( Romans 10:3-4) This revelation is what changed a Pharisee by the name Saul into a missionary called Paul. He said of himself: "lf anyone thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: ... in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the Church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless ... But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ ... I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.' ( Philippians 3:4-9) Have we discovered this righteousness by faith or are we still confident of our own self-righteousness? We will certainly not enter the kingdom of God with our filthy rags of self-righteousness but only in the robe of Christ's righteousness! Let the Holy Spirit strip us of our rags and clothe us with Christ's robe, which the Bible calls the "wedding clothes". In the parable about the wedding banquet, 'the king noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. Then the King told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are invited, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:11-14) Unless we are clothed in the righteousness of God that far surpasses that of men, we will certainly not partake of the wedding banquet in the kingdom. "For the wedding of the Lamb has come and the bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." ( Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints) ... "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb." ( Revelation 19:7-9) "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." ( Luke 14:715) Amen.