Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law when his blood was shed on the cross. Jesus was severely beaten prior to His crucifixion as well. All this was done that He would serve as the sacrificial Lamb. When He was on the cross, He said, “It is Finished!” At that point, a new covenant became effective. The covenant of Grace. Man no longer had to continually sacrifice animals to come to God. The Temple veil was torn from top to bottom which signified the end of the separation between God and man. Jesus became the gate, the door, the access to God for all of mankind. Jesus said that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we would never enter the kingdom of Heaven.
When we turn our lives over to the Son of God, Jesus, we get His righteousness. This imputed righteousness is certainly more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus’ righteousness is complete, total, perfect. And He became sin, that we might become His righteousness.
So rejoice in God’s goodness! Sing Praises for His mercy. God has healed the rift between Himself and us. Halleluiah! God is great!
Now, the real work begins. Jesus said if we wish to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, and take up our cross daily. Of course, the dying to ourselves is metaphorical. We cannot literally die daily. We need to kill our sinful desires, and it is a daily struggle to break old habits and practices. But we can do it. We have the comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit to assist us.