“Unless Your Righteousness Exceeds”
In their day, there were probably no more “righteous” people around than the scribes and Pharisees, at least when it came to knowing what the Bible said and making every effort to do that.
Jesus seems to be saying, then, that to be his disciples and to gain entry into the kingdom of heaven requires that we do more than know what the Bible says and make every effort to do that.
Somehow, O God, we must let you help us get to the heart, to the spirit, to the essence of it all; somehow, O God, we must grow to live out of a relationship with you that forms not only our actions but also our motives, our attitudes, and our relationships.
Work in us, O God, so that we become every day more of who you mean for us to be so that we can then do more of what you mean for us to do not only because the Bible says so but because our relationship with you causes that way of life to be more and more natural to us.
“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)