WHO is Righteous?
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness EXCEEDS that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens.” (Mat 5:20 ISR, emphasis mine)
There are, unfortunately, legalistic Pharisees still found in today’s world, just as there were in the time of Messiah Yeshua. Our modern “Pharisees” will try to tell us we must only pray certain ways, dress certain ways, attend only Sunday church, and only sing songs picked out by the appointed song leader (that was appointed to the position 40 years ago), never moving from established tradition, for that would be sin. Emphasis, to this type of people, is placed on the “appearance” of a religion, an outward display, and approval from the population, from man.
Also found these days – especially on social media – are the “Torah Terrorists”. In this category, we find those who have gained a smidgen of Torah knowledge, and then proceed to flog you with what they think they know. Their favorite target of attack are those who still continue to attend to the doctrines of westernized Christianity, yet love the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with everything in them. Truthfully, these “Terrorists” set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner of those that they target, a place that belongs to our Creator alone.
The words of the Scriptures were written by Jews, and came from a societal structure of “Honor and Shame”. We are called to honor our Elohim, our parents, and one another, through the command that we “love our neighbor as ourselves” (see Lev 19:13-18). We are never called to bring shame on one that is created in the image of Elohim, not in any way. To do so is a violation of Torah. When we mock, ridicule, and hurl accusations against those who may not believe entirely the way that we do, we are not walking in the righteousness that “exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees”.
Our Messiah Yeshua showed us a different way. True righteousness begins in the heart; it is an inward attitude toward our Creator, reflected in and through a set-apart, righteous life of obedience to His TORAH. Love and obedience to Elohim (and His Torah, His Word) are of the utmost importance; life is no longer self-centered, but Elohim-centered. It is from our relationship with our Father that the love for our neighbor will always flow, fulfilling the mitzvah, the commandment, given to us by Yeshua (see Mark 12:29-33).
True righteousness will never ridicule, mock, or treat with contempt those who are part of the modern, westernized church, or those who are still struggling with the elements of Torah. For as we have learned through these past few days, examining the instructions found in Matthew chapter 5, we – those of us who have made the decision to walk this Torah walk – are a people on display, called to be a light in this dark world. Always remember to whom we are to bring honor to.
“…For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth – proving what is well-pleasing to the Master.” (Eph 5:8-10 ISR, emphasis mine)
“… For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh. Anyone who serves the Messiah in this fashion both pleases God and wins the approval of other people.” (Romans 14:17-18 CJB, emphasis mine)
Alvinu, Malkenu, our Father, our King, we come to You, and we thank You for Your grace, mercy and favor which are continuously poured out upon us. ABBA, help us to walk in the righteousness that You have laid out for us, found only in Your divine instructions in moral and righteous living, Your Torah. Help us to never look with contempt and pride upon those who may not be on the same path as us. May our walk always bring honor to You, and never bring shame to those who are watching. In the Name of Yeshua of Nazareth we pray, Amein.