In Micah 6:6 the prophet says, “With what shall I come before the Lord, And bow myself before the High God?” Basically he’s asking, “What do I have to do to be right with God” Then he provides a number of guesses: Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He provides a number of guesses, “Do I bring Him what’s prescribed under the Old Covenant? Will ten thousand sacrifices work? What about sacrificing my own son for my sin? Will that please God?” The implied answer is none of these make us right with God; no amount of human effort will satisfy God.
In Matthew 5:20 Jesus made a statement that would have shocked all his listeners, and it should shock us too: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” The idea that anyone’s righteousness could exceed the self-imposed righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was unfathomable. The universal response to Jesus’ words would be, “That’s impossible!” Jesus wanted the people to see God’s required standard of righteousness could not be reached by anyone. That makes perfect sense because “if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Gal 2:21).
Does this relate to this morning? Today is Resurrection Sunday, and a few days ago was the anniversary of Jesus’ crucifixion. Micah said, “How can I come before the Lord?” We’re celebrating the anniversary of God providing the way for us to “come before” Him. What sacrifice is good enough? What amount of effort is required? The sacrifice and effort Jesus provided. That’s what’s necessary. Every other religion of the world is about what man does for God; they’re all about our effort and our sacrifice, but Christianity is about what God did for man; it’s about His effort and His sacrifice for us. This morning we’re going to look at how the righteousness God requires can become our righteousness. It’s this righteousness that’s necessary to be reconciled to God.
You can listen to Sunday’s sermon, Cut Off & Resurrected For Our Justification here.