The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The Lord on this occasion did what He so frequently did
when discussing the question of righteousness. He turned to the Law. In the Sermon, He used the Law
lawfully to reveal the holiness of God as well as the demand of righteousness as the requirement for
entrance into the kingdom. He reveals Himself as the One who perfectly fulfills the Law (5:17-20), then
proceeds to reject the Pharisees’ traditional interpretation of the Law concerning murder, adultery,
divorce, oaths, retaliation, and love (5:21-48). The teachers of the law taught that God was concerned
only with external actions, not with internal attitudes.
Christ next rejected the Pharisees’ practice of the Law in alms giving, prayer, fasting, faith, and judging
(6:1-7:6). Jesus then concluded the Sermon by giving instruction to those who desired entrance into the
kingdom. He taught them concerning prayer (7:7-11) and true righteousness (v. 12). He showed them
the way of access into the kingdom through faith in His words (vv. 13-14). He warned them against the
false teacher who sought to lead them astray (vv. 15-23) and offered them a true foundation and Rock
upon which to build (vv. 24-27).
Jesus rejected the Pharisee’s righteousness, saying, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of
heaven” (5:20). In place of their self-righteousness, He offered Himself as the narrow gate and narrow
road that leads to life (7:13-14).
A comparison of “the righteousness of the Pharisees” with the righteousness needed to enter the kingdom
of heaven shows that Christ and religious leaders were worlds apart.
The holiness of God does not change from age to age. His demand of righteousness does not alter from
day to day. No one can live this Sermon from the inside out without God’s help. The Sermon does not
mention the Holy Spirit or the blood of Christ, yet the basis for it is Calvary, and the power to live it by
the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, Jesus will offer in His blood the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; Isaiah 59:20-21; Jeremiah 31:3134;
Ezekiel 36:24-27), and in particular, the coming of the indwelling Holy Spirit, whom He announces to
His disciples the night before His death (John 16:5-15).