In Christ’s sermon on the mountain (Matthew Chapters 5-7) He shows the conduct God expects a member of His kingdom to manifest to their neighbors. When we take an honest view of the Bible, our understanding of how God opposes mistreating others emerges. And Christ spoke on the key of righteousness.
Jesus held nothing back when speaking of God’s truth. In His homily, He set right every misinterpretation on anger (Matthew 5:21-26), adultery (Matthew 5:27-30), and marriage (Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:1-10).
Likewise, Christ illuminates the way to selflessness (Matthew 5:38-42), unconditional love (Matthew 5:43-48), and humility (Matthew 7:1-6).
It’s in this part of Christ’s teachings He lays out the Christian actions necessary in living a God-centered life. The first thing to remember is Jesus highlights love (Matthew 5:43-48) as God’s favorable interaction with those who cause us trouble. So finding spiritual love comes from reliance on Christ.
Righteousness is out of reach on willpower alone. We understand this truth when we revisit Adam and Eve’s great fall from God’s grace (Genesis 3: 1-19). The second they disobeyed God, sin sprouted and corrupted the human soul. Their penalty for disobedience cost them God’s affection, but the Lord loved them and provided them the key to a pure heart (Genesis 3:22).
Remember, Christ defeated sin (1 Peter 2:24) and without His intervention, in the way, I react to being mistreated is sinful. Think of it this way. When someone belittles me and I react in the same way, then sin controls my response. But the more I grow in Christ when those circumstances arise my ability to forgive increases. And when I fall short in love, then repentance is my way back to righteousness.
It’s important to realize the key to righteousness as set forth through Christ’s firm teaching is love and humility. Both a loving and humble existence lead to a life of glorifying and serving God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and helping others. God is pleased when we live a modest life and express His love to others.
For example, when Christ talked about murder, He made it known anger is its taproot. In, our generation the world reminds us the devastation anger causes in society. Nowadays, murder is a headline broadcast to the masses.
Jesus understood anger is dangerous and the way to stop it from infesting the heart is reconciling our indifferences and making amends for wrong doings (Matthew 5:24). Making right wrongdoing is an act of love and an example of humility.
Love coupled with humility removes resentment and brings serenity in angry circumstances. And when we show those around us God’s love our lives become rich in righteousness.
Another excellent illustration of pure at heart is understanding other’s sinful ways (Matthew 7:1-6). It’s easy to forget my sinful actions. At birth, sin is present (Romans 5:12). So passing judgment on others is senseless because God knows everyone falls short in living holy.
I am familiar with the unfruitfulness of pointing the finger at people’s shortcomings. Many times when I become self-righteous it’s an unpleasant experience. I never walk away from it feeling good. But the more willing I am to live in Christ the less I judge others. This revelation brings me peace and I can love people who cause me problems.
Our discussion on the key to righteousness comes to an end, and we touched on a few aspects to its reverence for God. Since righteousness doesn’t come easy then a more comprehensive understanding stems from building a personal relationship with Christ. And with Jesus as our guide finding a pure heart is God’s reward for adhering to His word.
Have you found the key to righteousness?