Matthew 5:18-20 18For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. 19Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
A Pharisee is defined not only as a member of an ancient religious group, but also as a self-righteous, hypocritical person. If we are hypocritical, or insincere in our actions, we stand a chance of not entering the kingdom of heaven. If we appear to be righteous in public, but behind closed doors we are not acting right we are in big trouble! Matthew 15:7-9 7You pretenders (hypocrites)! Admirably and truly did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said: 8These people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. 9Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men. I will be transparent and say that there was a time in my life when I wasn’t all I seemed to be. I genuinely loved being at church, and entering into the presence of God. I loved singing on the praise team, and loved to worship the Lord, but when I was away from church I didn’t act in a way that was pleasing to the Lord. It still makes me sad to think that I was only honoring God on the surface, and that my worship was useless! How thankful I am for His forgiveness and mercy.
Looking back I realize that the reason I wasn’t wholehearted in serving God was that I wasn’t completely surrendered to Him. I had given Him most of my life, but I still wanted to be in control of part of it. Even serving God 98% of the time isn’t good enough, because that means there is still 2% of our flesh governing our actions. In Romans 8:5 we see 5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. When we allow our flesh to have any amount of say so in our lives it puts us in position to be controlled by it’s desires and that’s dangerous. Verse 6 says 6Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. Walking in the flesh brings death, but when we relinquish control to God and are led by His Spirit we will have life and peace. I challenge you today to take inventory of your life. Are there ways you are hypocritical in how you act? Are there areas you have not surrendered? If so, determine to make the necessary changes in your heart to ensure true right-standing with God.