Bible StudyAccording to the Grail Message
Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees…
This verse, which was given by Jesus when He gave the Sermon on the Mount is one of the most poignant and important messages when He stood before men on the Mount to give His Sermon. This very verse, however, is also one of the most glossed over and ignored verses in the entire New Testament.
It is glossed over and ignored because modern Christianity preaches and teaches something else. Modern Christianity teaches an easy way of atonement, whereby man does not have to contribute anything to his own salvation. It teaches that the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross was sufficient to wash away all our sins without further ado as long as we declare our belief in Him and as long as we follow the routine and ordinances of the church whether it is tithes and collections and church attendance, etc.
While it is true that we must declare our belief in Christ, what must follow that declaration is the deed itself with the continuous striving to put these words and declaration into action.
The declaration of our belief in Jesus Christ and His Word is the first step towards our salvation, but for that salvation to be maintained and guaranteed we must change our ways and act always according to the Word of Jesus Christ.
Otherwise it is no good. Of what use is it to declare a belief in Jesus Christ and His Word if we do not act according to It in every way. We will never achieve our salvation by acting this way. Even though there are many who have declared their belief in Jesus, what we observe is that the various manifold faults of mankind have not changed. We are still as imperfect and impure as we have ever been with no improvement. The lack of love for each other is astounding despite the declaration of a belief in Jesus Who is Love Himself.
Mankind has not followed the advice of Jesus in this verse because it is hard work. We are meant to work on ourselves and improve ourselves so that our thoughts, words and actions accord with the Word of Jesus Christ in the way He wanted us to live. That requires a complete change in our personalities and many sacrifices, away from the comfort of earthly distractions.
Because the founders of the religion and the modern leaders saw that the demand for adherence to this verse might turn away many potential church members, the thought was to quietly ignore this verse and never preach it or refer to it. The aims of these church leaders of having a large earthly church-following with the income and power that this guarantees have led them to ignore this very verse. The verse which was the most important and without which there can be no salvation.
Their fear was probably justified because indolent mankind would indeed probably have turned away from these teachers if they truly taught this verse. Most of us would rather pay someone to pray for us and declare our sins forgiven rather than make one single effort at self-improvement.
But then without the adherence to this verse there is no salvation and freedom of spirit for anyone. There is simply no other way. This verse admonishes us to be righteous, which means to make efforts to improve ourselves spiritually so that we keep our thoughts, words and actions pure and to love our neighbours and not to do any harm to them through our thoughts, words and actions. This is very hard work for mankind of today but it must be done.
There is no other way. To preach differently is not to love mankind. Anyone who preaches something different does not have the welfare of mankind or his flock or his neighbours at heart. Preaching the easy road to atonement is spiritually fatal.
We mankind then must wake up and start on the hard road to spiritual freedom, salvation and enlightenment. This road is only hard at the beginning because once we persist in it, it is the most joyous road, full of fulfilment and great happiness. It is only hard at the beginning because we lack practice. We have never done this before so it must prove hard initially.
It must be said that nothing in this world can outweigh the importance of following this road. Please let us all take this road.