How do I want my children and grandchildren to remember me?
How do I want God to judge me when Jesus comes again to establish His kingdom?
It is more important to me for Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:23), than what friends, family and even fellow citizens say about my life. Don’t get me wrong. It is important what others think about me, but I am more focused these days on what God will say than any other person I know. To this end, Jesus holds up the standard of righteousness as a kingdom of God principle.
Is it possible to meet that standard in a world filled with so much animosity, greed and untruth?
How can a person ever be righteous enough to please God?
The truth is, we can’t. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). Our righteousness is as “filthy rags” according to according to Isaiah 64:6. I am unrighteous due to my many sins and I need God’s help to ever hope to be righteous enough to meet His standard.
That’s why Jesus is so important to me. He is my righteousness. His blood covers my sins so that I am righteous through the blood of Jesus on the cross, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). I am declared righteous through the blood of Jesus. Being made righteous through the blood of Jesus describes my kingdom character by my faith in what He did for me on the cross. I didn’t earn it. I received it the moment Jesus entered by heart and became the Lord of my life. So, I am a righteous person to God through faith in Jesus and qualify for citizenship in His eternal kingdom.
Righteousness is incomplete if I only strive to be right before God and slack up in my determination to do right in my daily life. It simply does not work to say that you are righteous when your actions say you are not. Righteousness means that you trust Jesus to make you right before God and then you dedicate yourself to do right every day. The Beatitude says, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness…” Righteousness must be your purpose and goal in all the decisions you make and the lifestyle you choose.
That’s what the rest of the Sermon on the Mount teaches us. It tells us that it is not enough to simply not murder someone. It tells us that kingdom people do not lend themselves to hate or belittle other people because that assassinates their character and reputation. Jesus says kingdom people do not commit adultery because they don’t ever look upon other women with lust in their hearts. Kingdom people do not worry or strive for excessive wealth because God takes care of them like He does the birds of the air and flowers on the ground. Kingdom people live differently than worldly people. Kingdom people keep their eyes on Jesus and not on the kingdoms of this world.
Are you a kingdom person?
Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness?
Guess what. If you do what the Bible says, “You shall be filled…”