35. Condition for entry.
"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) The benchmark set by God to enter heaven is so high that it is impossible to attain it by works but easy to attain by faith. The Pharisees and teachers of the law who thought of themselves as being on the top, would've been shocked to hear of a higher standard! Yet the very ones they sneered at as being 'sinners', overtook them for Jesus himself said: "The tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you."( Matthew 21:31) Jesus was right in saying: "The last will be first and the first will be last." ( Matthew 20:16) Hasn't God made a fool of the religious who have set their own standards! '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.'(Romans 10:3) God is not deceived by our pretence but we decieve ourselves playing religion. He wants us to come before him just as we are and he will strip us of our filthy rags and clothe us with the robes of Christ. 'But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known ... This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.'( Romans 3:21-22) Amen.