“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

Laws are a set of rules that govern morality. Whether a country or individual, with time morality slides.

One choice after another. Until one day a previously immoral action appears moral,

Cultural relativism shifts morality into a comparing of ourselves with ourselves. Christians understand that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God.

To discover true morality, we begin with that as our premise. Then we search outside of ourselves for morality.

Because can’t look to the created for it.

Our Creator disclosed His moral law. Each of us needs to be governed by Someone greater.

Someone pure and holy.

Someone more beautiful than us.

Because if we govern ourselves by ourselves, we become immoral.

When Jesus speaks of righteousness, He’s referring to the Ten Commandments as well as other laws given in the book of Leviticus.

Jesus Himself has come not to abolish the laws, but to fulfill them.

He’s come to fulfill the law.

Jesus teaches us what that looks like later on in Matthew. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

God wants something more than behavior modification. He wants heart transformation.

Jesus challenges us to pursue righteousness that exceeds shiny, performance-based religion.

He scolded the Pharisees for cleaning the outside of the cup while leaving the inside dirty. He compared the hypocrisy to being white washed tombs, pretty on the outside with decay and stench on the inside.

He wants more from us. He’s calling us to genuine relationship, to genuine love.

So we stop putting on a show on the outside when our inside is a mess.

We humbly admit our sins. We embrace forgiveness and grace, and pour it out on others. Then we’re aligned with God’s will, and live out the heart of the law.

Our abyss fills. We find pleasure in life and before our God.