Exceeding Righteousness

Feb 28, 2016 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Messiah in Matthew Scripture: Matthew 5:48; Matthew 5:19-20
There is little debate among all religious systems that righteousness is the standard by which God will judge humanity. Zoroastrianism may be the first religion to state that the afterlife was dependent upon one’s actions. In Judaism, one has the ability to choose righteous deeds which merit eternal life. In Buddhism, acting, speaking, and living in the right manner and with the right intention results in the return of one’s spirit to God. In Shintoism, salvation is dependent on penance and avoiding impurity or pollution of the soul. Muslims hope that repeating what Muhammad did and said will get them to Jannah (paradise); so they recite daily prayers, fast, go on pilgrimages, and perform good works in hope of tipping the scales on Judgment Day. Mormons require obedience to the Mormon “Word of Wisdom” and all God’s commandments. Christianity is unique in it requirement for perfect righteousness, making it impossible for anyone to enter heaven on their own merit or will. In the Gospel according to Matthew chapter 19:16-22, when a young man asked Jesus, “what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus answer, which may surprise many Christians, was, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The fact that righteousness is required for eternal life cannot be argued; what is debated, is just how much righteousness does God require?