Updated: Jul 19, 2020
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 Pharisees were a group of zealous Jews who were contemporaries of Jesus Christ. They believed that the way they would please God and make it to heaven was by meticulously following a long list of religious rules and regulations.
The Pharisees occupied a prominent position in the synagogue during Jesus’ day.
They viewed themselves as the most righteous, the best, the holiest, and the real leaders of the people. Their entire lives revolved around proving to themselves,
to God, and to the people just how great they were because of how they kept the externalities of the law.
The transformation that Jesus expects and makes possible, will result in a righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees. Surpasses not in quantity but in quality. A transformed heart and mind does not necessarily lead us to obey more rules, more often, but rather we do the Christ-like thing for a better reason than simply obeying a rule or request. As we allow God to transform our hearts, we do good helpful things because that is becoming part of our new nature – part of who we are. We don’t have to decide or remember to do the right thing; we do it naturally. It is our first response.