Summary: Discussing how one can do all the "right" things and still not have a personal relationship with Christ. Being good is not good enough.
The scribes and Pharisees were thought of as having arrived at the highest pitch of religion. The scribes were most noted as teachers of the law. The pharisees were most noted as celebrated professors of the law. They fasted and were unto much prayer. They tithed. They were good people. They worked hard, punctual, taught and helped others.
They had all "A’s." Please understand that you can fail with all A’s.
I remember in high school, I wasn’t a bad student. I like to think of myself as a smart person. I graduated with an advanced diploma. I was pretty close to the top 10% of my class. One of the things I remember most about high school was the first couple of years, 9th and 10th grades. I tried to get all A’s, but I was dedicated enough. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the those were 2 of the most important years of my high school career. They determined my top ten capabilities. It determined the majority of my GPA. You can’t wait until 12th grade to decide that you want to be in the top ten. 11th and 12th grades I made mostly A’s. At the end of my 11th grade year, I was in the top ten. I was making straight A’s, but what I didn’t realize was that I was failing at my goal. I was getting further and further down the list because there were so many more students ahead of me, who had straight A’s the entire time. I was failing at what I thought I was accomplishing. You can still fail with an A.
Jesus is telling us that human goodness is not good enough! People often say " I feel like I am a good person." "I don’t need church." "I don’t need God." "If God was a God of love, he wouldn’t send me to hell." They are right on that last one, He will not send anyone to hell. You send yourself! He was prepared for Lucifer and his angels.
It takes less time to repent than to justify yourself.
Luke 16:15 says "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."
You may say "I don’t do this or that. I keep the ten commandments."
Luke 11:19 says "Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part if full of ravening and wickedness."
---You said you keep the commandments?
Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever wanted what someone else has? Men, have you ever looked at a woman and lusted for her? The Bible says that if you have, you have already committed adultery in your heart. To say that you have kept all the commandments is to straight out lie to God.
We all sin! Our righteousness is as filthy rags to God! You can’t be good enough to get into heaven. You can’t work enough to earn salvation and a free ticket into heaven. Someone had to pay for your ticket. He paid it willingly. But you have to accept him and his free offer! You can’t just do well and expect that he will slip you a freebie. He paid too great of a price for your ticket!
What you are really doing is practicing Hollywood Holiness. You are an actor or actress playing the part. You are very convincing to man too. But, you are not fooling God! In the real world, in reality, you are lost and on your way to hell. You may not even fully realize it. You may really think that your goodness will get you into heaven.
Understand that a lot of "good" people go to hell everyday. Understnd that some smart, upright citizens are burning in hell right now! Understand that good people, who have attended church services, give money to the church and to the poor. They have taught Sunday School, kept most of the commandments, stayed out of trouble. Some never picked up drugs or alcohol. But if they died today without having a personal relationship with Christ, they will go to hell the very second they take that last breathe!
God requires change in your life, not just your life style. God requires a change of heart! You can fail with straight A’s. You can pile on goodness upon goodness, you can refine it, perfect it and polish it and no matter how hard you try, you will fall short of God’s standards!
Romans 3:20 "THerefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his might, for by the law is teh knowlege of sin." Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."