Pharisees and teachers of the law?
In a sum total, those Jesus mentions here were experts in the Scripture but the whole point of loving God and neighbor was lost on them. Therefore, much like the devil -Jesus dealt with him as an actual entity regularly in the Gospels… these were what He called “blind guides”. Wow.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them…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.” Jesus in Matthew 5:17, 20
Their “righteousness”, like ours, ends up being mere “filthy rags”. “Christ IS our righteousness” and there is no other of such value when we stand before the Throne on that day but Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1.10)
God’s righteousness via Jesus wasn’t nor can it be established by civil law nor even scriptural law. Consider in light of say, Constantine’s time. Study his life and acts during his entire reign, how he ruled and for that matter his treatment of his own family for an eye-opener.
The concept of the State being more than servant of it’s people -ALL of it’s people- does not establish God’s righteousness. A genuine relationship to Jesus, His followers being walking “little Christs”, loving, gracious examples of HIS righteousness is what society needs to be truly reformed. Even in this bold, loving witness via our character we cannot -establish- righteousness in the sense that only Jesus IS fully righteous and only HE fully and perfectly is without sin.
In their desire to declare their own righteousness the Pharisees and teachers of the law of God rejected His! The gift was spurned when societal position and self-righteousness was their actual ground of defense. Self rather than either God or people around them -was their supreme focus.
God deliver us from us!
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn