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Right Relationship with God by Ven. S.O. Oladejo

Text: Matt. 5:20-26

Theme: Right Relationship with God

From the passage, we had a statement once made by our Lord Jesus Christ which staggered his hearers. This statement is preserved for us by St Matthew in the opening verse of the passage read “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter the Kingdom of God”. This statement staggered the hearers of the Lord because of the reputation enjoyed by the Pharisees among the Jewish people.

The Scribes were the most noted of the teachers of the law while the Pharisees were the most celebrated professors of religion. The scribes and Pharisees had such a reputation among the rest of the Jewish people that they were looked upon as super comfortable to be as good as they were. Many of us do not care about Christianity. Many of us are doing practically nothing about the message of salvation given to us by Jesus Christ. Some do not even bother to teach even their children the way of Christ. The Scribes and Pharisees made some efforts, what effort are you making about serving Christ in your daily life in order to support your Church and taking Christ to others?

Our Lord saw and observed the righteousness which the Scribes and the Pharisees claimed for themselves and found it inadequate for entry into God’s Kingdom. He therefore, urged His followers to exclude the badness and exceed the goodness of the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees in order to qualify for heaven. Jesus Christ saw that the pre-requisites for entry into the Kingdom of God were absent in the righteousness established by the Scribes and Pharisees. Their righteousness had no length, breadth, height nor depth because it lacked repentance, forgiveness, humility, love and grace. They practiced their religion to please or bribe God not because they love God. They had so much stress on the ritual aspect of the Law that they cast aside the spiritual side of it, which is more essential.

Like the Scribes and Pharisees, many of us create barriers between ourselves and others for selfish purposes. When we had a favour from someone, we see him as a brother, but when we should do a favour for a neighbor, we try to put a barrier in between for our own righteousness. Therefore, to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we must first of all accept our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because He is the way, the truth and the life, and apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Secondly, we must love others as God loved us. Jesus Christ commanded us to love. He knew that the basis of happiness and peace in the world is love. The world itself was created in love and on love God created man in His own image, Jesus Christ came to establish love in the world. Love will remove all barriers created by man’s prejudices against his fellowman. Love is capable of healing all our ills in this country which decrees, creation of states, equitable distribution of revenue (national cake) or Youth Corps cannot achieve.

Let us pray: Come Lord and reign over us as our rightful King. Rule in our hearts and fill them with Your love, rule in our hearts and bring every thought into captivity to Yourself, rule in our lives and make them holy like Your own, for Yours is the kingdom and power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Ven. S.O. Oladejo