Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 5:20 - 5:20

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 5:20 - 5:20


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I am so far from giving a liberty to the violation of my Father’s law, (as the scribes and Pharisees may possibly suggest), that I assure you that unless your obedience to it exceed that obedience which the scribes and Pharisees teach you, and themselves practise, you shall never come into heaven. What the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was we cannot better learn than from St. Paul, who was himself a Pharisee, and bred up at the feet of Gamaliel, a great doctor amongst them, Act_23:6 26:5 Phi_3:5. That it was a righteousness of works appeareth from Phi_3:1-21, and the whole Epistles to the Romans (Rom_1:1-16:27) and Galatians (Gal_1:1-6:18); and their not owning Christ as the Messiah, nor believing on him, Joh_7:48, made it impossible that it should be any other. That they looked upon their mere obedience to the ceremonial law as their righteousness cannot be proved, yea, the contrary is enough evident by their obedience to the moral law, according to the interpretation they put upon it. But their interpretation of the moral law was so short and jejune, that it is manifest that their righteousness was not only a righteousness not of faith but of works, but works that were very imperfect and short of what the true sense of the law required, as our Saviour afterward proveth. That is to say, it was no righteousness, for he that keepeth the whole law, if he be guilty in one point, is guilty of all, Jam_2:10.