What Does Matthew 5:20 Mean?

For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

Someone has suggested that the key to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount lies in verse 20, which tells us that unless we are more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s day, we will not even enter the kingdom of heaven. The external virtue and exterior purity of these religious men was not sufficient to grant them a place in Christ’s coming kingdom – no wonder there is confusion about Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.

Many Christians erroneously see Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as a salvation passage for unbelievers rather than a kingdom promise for those that are saved by grace through faith - and many non-Christians consider it a charter for world peace or a principle to be adopted in their individual lives or by nations – and do not understand that true righteousness comes only through believing on the Lord Christ Jesus as Saviour – for there is none good – not even one.

There was no-one who was more "righteous" than the scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s day - yet the Lord Jesus alone is "good".. He alone is "perfect"..  He alone is "righteous," He alone is holy unto the Lord, for Jesus Christ is God. If the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s day was not sufficient then - it is still insufficient in our day too.

Unless we are covered in Christ’s righteousness – unless we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, we will never enter the kingdom of God – but by believing in His name, we are eternally covered in His righteousness and immediately become joint heirs with Christ, Who is coming soon to set up  the kingdom of heaven.

My Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, I am not worthy to gather up the crumbs under Your table, and yet You have forgiven my sin and have clothed me in Christ’s righteousness – simply because I trust in Jesus as Saviour. I pray that He will live His life through me, to Your praise and glory in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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