In the last paragraph we saw that Jesus calls for a greater righteousness than that of the scribes and Pharisees. The point was to show that Law was to cause a person to sense their need for God’s help to attain righteousness. This is why Jesus is going to end this section of the Sermon on the Mount with the declaration, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). Rather than feeling their inadequacy before the Law, what the teachers of the Law did was lower the requirements of the Law so that they could feel like they were doing the Law. Jesus is going to set the record straight about the intention of the Law. What Jesus is going to call for is a change from the inside out. The Law was not calling for outward conformity but an inward transformation that led to fruit of obedience. Jesus is about the clean out the heart. He will explore how the Pharisees’ righteousness had failed.
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