Are you faking it? Iâ€™m not talking about faking it as far as being a Christian; Iâ€™m talking about faking righteousness.
When you read the first sixteen verses of the Sermon on the Mount, do you look at yourself and say, it is impossible to live the life of righteousness Jesus describes? Jesus no doubt already knew this in what He said in the next four verses:
â€œDo not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.â€ (Matthew 5:17-20)
The righteousness expected of us is outlined in the Ten Commandments, also known as the Law. This is what Jesus tells the rich young ruler. Now the Pharisees and Scribes not only sought to obey the Law, but they also added to it. These men were the epitome of holy and righteous men, at least in societyâ€™s eyes. They were the standards of religion; but they were exactly like too many of our present day religious leaders.
Jesus said that if we want to enter into heaven, we must be more righteous than these leaders.
How could that be possible?
Understand that although these men professed to love the Law, by all their traditions and additions to the Law they were destroying it. Their legalism and their public displays of false piety made righteousness seem unattainable. Jesus was telling His Disciples that you have to be better than these supposed holy men.
The Ten Commandments act as a mirror, or as Paul describes, a schoolmaster, teaching us our need for a Savior. These supposed holy men rejected the Messiah because their belief system had destroyed the Law to the point it was no longer recognizable or discernible. Wiersbe describes it this way:
Jesus made it clear that He had come to honor the Law and help Godâ€™s people love it, learn it, and live it. He would not accept the artificial righteousness of the religious leaders. Their righteousness was only an external masquerade. Their religion was a dead ritual, not a living relationship. It was artificial; it did not reproduce itself in others in a living way. It made them proud, not humble; it led to bondage, not liberty.
I donâ€™t know about you but I am tired of dead ritual; I want a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through the Indwelling Holy Spirit. I can no longer tolerate an artificial righteousness; Iâ€™m tired of faking it. No more external masquerades; it is time to take off the â€œGood Christianâ€ masks. No more pride; no more bondage. Give me humility and liberty.
The problem for me is I am unwilling to pay the price, no matter the cost. In fact all I see most of the time is the cost! I need to keep my eyes focused on the life of Christ if I truly want to live a life of holy righteousness. Paul wrote:
â€œFor you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.â€ (2 Corinthians 8:9)
If I try to come off as some â€œrighteousâ€ brother and am unwilling to obey the Lordâ€™s commandments because I imagine the cost to high, what does that say about me? It says that Iâ€™m a phony.
Beloved, Godâ€™s Word is sure and it is sacred.
â€œHeaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.â€ (Luke 21:33)
We can trust the Bible!
â€œ…and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.â€ (Revelation 22:19)
We must respect the Bible!
It all comes down to our obeying the Holy Spirit in His instruction on how we are to live our lives. And I believe in my heart of hearts that 99% of Christians who are living spiritually defeated lives do so because they are not steeping themselves daily in Godâ€™s Word; I the worse among them.
I want to leave you with a quote that I shared with my Sunday school class this past weekend. It pretty much sums up why too many of us have an artificial righteousness and much of it is rooted in our making excuses. The Reverend R.C. Sproul destroys all pretense here:
Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.
How rude!!!! Oh would that more pastors preach such â€œrudenessâ€ from their pulpits.
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers