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Unrighteousness: What is it?

Unrighteousness is a wrong action; a wrongdoing; evil deeds or words, iniquity. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words defines unrighteousness as action that causes visible harm to other persons in violation of the divine standard. Other meanings of this word and its verb form are evildoers; dishonesty; being unjust; wickedness; to be unfair; to harm; to abuse; to hurt; to wrong in any way. If any action or behavior is wrong, it is sin. I believe that these meanings go far beyond just physical deeds and actions and go deeper into attitudes and motives for our actions and what goes on in our minds. Unrighteousness involves what we think and say. We see the beginnings of a different standard, unrighteousness involves not just what we do but what we are.

Christ reveals an underlying standard

The Lord Jesus Christ clarified this divine standard: Matthew 5:20-22 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV) . . . Let’s delve a little deeper to SEE what Jesus means!

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (KJV) . . . The Pharisees of old, had a high degree of righteousness according to the Law, but that was NOT acceptable to God. Can we exceed their righteousness? NO way! NOT on our own. We need Christ! Jesus said we need a different kind of righteousness (love and obedience). Our righteousness must (1) come from what God does in us, NOT what we can do by ourselves, (2) must be God-centered, NOT self-centered, (3) must be based on reverence for God, NOT approval from people, and (4) must go beyond keeping the Law to living by the principles of the Law.

TRUE Righteousness Contrasted to that of the Scribes and Pharisees.Shown from the 6th Commandment.

Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: (KJV) . . . Our Lord's object is to contrast the traditional twisted corruptions of the law with the true understanding of it as explained by Himself. "By them of old time" is most likely referring to the corrupt teachers rather than perverted people. Thou shall not kill, meaning, all that the Law requires. Whosoever has killed someone is guilty of breaking this commandment. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment, or liable to the judgment; meaning the sentence of the inferior courts which were established in all the principal towns. This commandment was reduced, from a holy Law of the heart searching for God, to a mere criminal rule, taking thought only of outward actions, such as that in Ex. 21:12; Lev.24:17.

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV) . . . This is a tremendous statement by Jesus! It means that if you are angry with your brother, you are a murderer!

But I say unto you . . . words to this effect appear about 25 times in the Gospels. Anytime Jesus says these words, an extremely difficult lesson follows. Notice the authoritative tone in which Jesus, the Lawgiver and Judge (GOD), now speaks, as He explains the deep meaning of this commandment! A hard lesson follows! Precise and unholy feelings toward our brothers are indicated by the words "Raca" (worthless) and "fool” (stupid, blockhead, idiot). Every age and every country has its own ways of expressing such things. What Jesus is saying is that such language of unholy disrespect and contempt for our brothers and sisters in Christ simply is bringing out the true feelings in our heart. We must BEWARE!!!

Anger was said to have been felt by our Lord towards His enemies, BUT it was mixed with "grief for the hardness of their hearts" (Mark 3:5). What Jesus is condemning here is anger without a cause. We should NOT be angry with a person for NO good reason. Jesus was angry many times in the Bible (righteous anger). See Matthew chapter 23, also Mat.21:12. Paul also teaches that there is anger that is not sinful (Eph.4:26). So, it is being angry without a cause of which Jesus speaks. Jesus tells us that we break the 6th Commandment even by unfounded anger, which is nothing but hatred in the bud; for hatred is how murder starts. 1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (KJV)
So, if by our wrong feelings, murder is started, just think how much more that malicious words will add to those bad feelings! Just as there are different degrees in human courts of justice, and in the sentences which they pronounce according to the degrees of the crime, so too will the judicious treatment of all the breakers of this commandment be at the last Judgment. What a serious and holy teaching Jesus brings to us!

Do you CLAIM to be keeping the Mosaic Law? You cannot break the Law and get by with it, and you cannot get by with saying that the Sermon on the Mount is your religion and then break every part of it. My friend, both you and I need a Saviour who has kept the Law perfectly and can impute to us His own righteousness (1 Cor.1:30).

This topic brings MANY articles on sin,
how we can overcome sin, and how we can have
Victory Over Sin

Victory Over Sin

Applying Jesus' Victory

Beware of Apostate Preachers

Bible Definition of Sin

Biblical Victory Over Sin

Boundaries of Sin, What Are They?

King David Was A Sinner, Just Like You and Me

Ecumenism, Yoking With Satan

Evils of Neo Evangelism

God's Rules on Sin

Guilt Feeling

How Narrow Is the Narrow Way?

How to Gain Victory Over Sin

How to Overcome

Important Bible Verses

Living Godly is NOT Easy!

Must Have An Earnest Desire to Have Victory Over Sin!

Sin in the Human Heart

Sin Must be Punished

Struggling to Understand Sin

Taking a Biblical Stand For God

Understanding WHAT Sin Is

Universal Nature of Sin

Unrighteousness, WHAT Is It?

Victory Over Sin, Can I Have it?

Victory Over Sin, Even for the Chief of Sinners!

Victory Over Sin, Forgiveness

Victory Over Sin, Misunderstood

Victory Over Sin, Overcoming Sin

Victory Over Sin, Reasons Not to Sin

Victory Over Sin, Rewards For Overcoming

Victory Over Sin, Sin Defined

Victory Over Sin, Ways to Achieve It

Weighing Sins, Does God Do That?

What Is Sin?

Why Sin Must Be Punished

World Will Rejoice, Believers Will Have Sorrow

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