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Have You Earned Heaven?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2021 8:00 am

Have You Earned Heaven?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 11, 2021 8:00 am

Many have tried to live by the standards set by Christ’s Sermon on the Mount--and all have failed. Is it even possible for these standards to become a reality in our lives and set the standard for our actions? Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour as he proposes the secret to success in living a holy life according to God’s righteousness.

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If a man is to get to heaven, he must possess some form of righteousness other than his own. The only virtue we are capable of producing is external and it falls far short of the righteousness of God.

Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act biblically. While human goodness may see a man through this life you will not see him into eternity. Why then did Jesus set a righteous standard that man could not fulfill his sermon on the Mount Joy Dr. Boyce as he describes the righteousness God demands and where it can be found if you accept the sermon on the Mount really and completely accept that you will be driven to the Lord Jesus Christ where alone you will find salvation you do not accept the sermon on the Mount. You will be turned away from Jesus Christ and this sermon will cause you even to hate him and despise his teachings.

I say this carefully. I know that many people say they believe and accept the sermon on the mount. Some people even say you that this is the only part of the Bible that they do believe I sometimes question whether these people have even read it or if they have whether they understand it since the statements of the sermon are the righteous foundation of all God's dealings with man when they are accepted they will turn a man to Jesus Christ. When they are rejected they will turn a man from him to a large extent this must've been true as Christ spoke the sermon three was undoubtedly heard by many, particularly among the religious leaders of the time who stood opposed to every word he uttered these would've reacted to his teachings as anyone would react to that which condemns them Jesus and said blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The words must've hurt the leaders of the people, the scribes and Pharisees knew they were neither poor in spirit, nor poor in material things, yet they had boasted that they knew the way to heaven more than others. Actually, they were rich in pride, Jesus and said blessed are the meek. They were anything but meek. He had said blessed are the merciful, and they were not merciful. In fact, there is hardly a phrase in the first section of the sermon on the mount that would not have hooked them as they heard it, and they must've acknowledged at least inwardly, they had indeed lost their saver and that they gave no light at this point. Jesus actually named the scribes and the Pharisees directly and naming them. He brought to an end the full standards of religion and morality that they had so carefully erected.

They thought that they had been scrupulous in interpreting and obeying the law.

Think thought they were righteous. Jesus said Brice saying to you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven. In other words he was saying. Gone will never be satisfied even with such a supposed high standard of righteousness is theirs.

This was a difficult saying of course, and it was difficult for number of reasons. First, because the scribes and the Pharisees were so highly regarded. We have a negative image of the Pharisees and the scribes today because of what Jesus Christ said about them because of the higher standard of righteousness that he revealed this was not true before hand.

For the most part they were all highly honored.

They were so highly thought of in fact that even Paul. Years later when he stood up before Herod Agrippa to plead his case boasted that formerly he had lived after the strictest sect of the Jewish religion of IRC. Hence, even then, in the Christian era. It was a thing of praise. The scribes were also honored as the great masters of the law. Jesus words were also difficult. However, because he was, not saying that in order for a man to get to heaven, he must have a slightly higher degree of the same kind of righteousness, that the scribes and Pharisees had been accumulating is not saying that all first part of the sermon should have dispelled any thought of that. He was saying that if a man is to get to heaven, he must somehow have a different and better righteousness than these men were showing. This meant that he must turn his back on human goodness altogether receive instead the freely offered goodness of God, the Phillips translation of the New Testament makes this a little clearer by saying at this verse.

For I tell you that your goodness must be a far better thing than the goodness of the scribes and Pharisees before you can set foot in the kingdom of heaven.

All of perhaps you're saying at this point as people always do well. What is wrong with human righteousness I think would be in a bad way without it I would agree with you in part it is certainly much better to be surrounded by honest, bright, sensitive persons and scoundrels. Even if the honest men are not Christians but the point is that human goodness is not good enough for God. This means that although human goodness will see a man through this life, often with flying colors. It will not see him to heaven for several reasons for this. First, the righteousness of which men are so proud is an external righteousness, while men looked naturally on the outward appearance since God's nature to look on the heart. Jesus no man, and he knew that although the scribes and Pharisees were taking a great deal of trouble to shine up the outside of their lives were nevertheless unable to do anything about the true state of their hearts in their hearts.

They were as sinful and therefore is unacceptable to God, is anybody one occasion, he said wall under you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites per year. Like why did sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly full of dead men's bones of all uncleanness. Moreover, when Jesus said of the Pharisees is true of every life to a certain extent you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps morally pure and alcoholic. You can discipline yourself sometimes to attend the meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and get rid of the habit of drink you can get control of yourself and enter into a useful life. Perhaps people will even admire you for having overcome this weakness of character.

Although you can do all of this outwardly, you cannot do anything about your heart, you can be scrupulous in the affairs of your life so that you were not the least bit dishonest in business but you cannot make your heart loving your heart is not loving you cannot make it humble. If you are not humble you cannot make yourself sure. Hence, the first reason why human righteousness will not get anywhere with God is that the only righteousness of which we are capable is external God demands a transformation of the heart. The second reason why Jesus was critical of the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, is that this external righteousness actually whittle down the standards of the law and therefore nullified it in many important points using these men, the scribes and the Pharisees were great definer's ideas they could tell you to the smallest degree exactly what each of the commandments meant the law said, thou shalt remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

They could tell you precisely what one could do on the Sabbath and still keep the law. Keep the day holy and what one could not bus it was possible they said to move about, but only a Sabbath day's journey was possible to eat, but not to cook food to bandage a person who became hurt but not to apply ointment or anything actively to promote healing and so on.

Because this was work. Jesus said, however, when you've done that you will still not kept the law of God only capture only watered-down version of it. It's quite possible not to go more than a Sabbath day's journey not to cook food in our day not to go to work not to take in a movie not to play golf or whatever it may be and still disobey God's commandment is not also true you. God gives a commandment and all how we rationalize, we can make a commandment of the Lord say anything we wanted to. In order to permit us to do what we want to do.

God says that human righteousness is unacceptable to him because human righteousness will always function like that into human righteousness is always self glorifying instead of God glorifying Westminster shorter catechism asked the question what is the chief end of man dancers man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. You're going about to establish your goodness. However, what you are really going about to establish is your own glorification and not the glorification of God. You're like the Pharisee in Christ story Pharisee went into a public area of the temple where everybody could see him and he prayed: I think the that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all I possess.

Jesus said you say that God hears that kind of prayer kind of prayer that asked him to look at how good a man is of course not. The argue that the kind of prayer God hears is the prayer of the publican that says God be merciful to me a sinner is a Jesus knew that when a man will do that then God will get the glory. Even if by God's grace.

The land does eventually come to live in upright an exemplary life and Paul knew it to is why he wrote for by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast only mentioned three reasons why human righteousness is not good enough for God. One is external to it is defined by man's standards, and three. It is self glorifying. There's also 1/4 reason why human righteousness is unacceptable to God, and it is most important. Human righteousness is actually a different kind of righteousness from that which God requires.

God asks for divine righteousness. Human righteousness is not divine righteousness at all.

Most people think of goodness much in the way we think of light as they acknowledge that it takes different forms and has varying degrees of intensity, but they believe that basically it's all the same thing wherever you find it.

The bottom there is the light that you cannot even see a little higher up the scale. There is the dome light that you might find in a cave somewhere that comes from decaying bacteria. Then there's the kind of light men produced by incandescents and then there's the light of the sun in the dark day followed by the light of the sun on a bright day and then there's the light produced on the surface of the sun itself them and say well it's the way it is with righteousness.

The light of decaying bacteria corresponds to the tiny flickers of goodness that are in the worst of man. Most of us resemble incandescent bulbs. Some are like the light of the sun in the dark day and then there is God and he's like the sun itself. God says that that is all wrong. He says that you can pile human goodness upon human goodness upon human goodness upon human goodness you can refined and perfected and polish it but no matter how hard you try, you fall short of God's standard because human righteousness is qualitatively different from the righteousness of God belongs to a different realm entirely. For instance, if human goodness can be compared to light then God's goodness was not be compared to light to do something entirely different like life itself or beauty. For that reason, God says that he cannot work with the good deeds that come from man. However much we may think of them and instead he asked us to renounce all of our efforts to please him by our own achievements and receive the righteousness of Christ. Many years ago there was a Pharisee who found out that these things were indeed true and who experienced a transformation of his life as a result, is probably the best-known rabbi that ever lived. At any rate, he certainly the one most effective in changing the history of the world's name was Paul his youth he had gloried in his achievements as a Pharisee. He achieved everything from the pharisaical point of view, it end of his life. He writes that when he looked back to edit all up recognize that it came to nothing and that the only thing that counted was Christ.

Here is his own testimony about it.

If any other man think if the ethical reasons for which he might trust in the flesh, I more circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews was touching the law Pharisee concerning zeal, persecuting the church touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless, what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ the aid doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but refuse, but I may win Christ to be found in him, not having mine only righteousness which is of the law, that which is through the faith of Christ righteousness which is of God by faith. Paul lists seven achievements in these verses, including four that were inherited and three that were earned first. He was a Jew three was born of the stock of Israel. This exposed him to all of the spiritual blessings the Lord of the covenants, the promises that God had promised to the Jewish people. Second, he was a pure blooded Jew. He was born of two Jewish parents, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Third, he had been circumcised on the eighth day of life, which meant that he was no proselyte nor Ishmaelite who was circumcised in his 13th year, fourth, he was of the tribe of Benjamin, the one tribe that had remained with Judah in the south the time of the Civil War in Israel, and this meant that he belonged to one of the two tribes that it remained faithful to the temple worship and to the law than to their work.

Considerable advantages the pulpit one for himself the first place. As regards his attitude to the law.

He was so Pharisee. This was the strictest sect of Judaism as he says, and to become a Pharisee was a matter of personal choice. Moreover, Paul was a zealous Pharisee fact proved by his early persecution of the church of Jesus Christ. Finally he worked so hard, it is calling that he actually came to consider himself blameless as a Pharisee before the laws, standards. This was a tremendous list of assets from a man's point of view.

The day came when Paul recognized that these things were worthless in the sight of a just and holy God was the day that he met Jesus before this happened. He thought that he had attained righteousness by keeping his conception of God's law. Afterwards he knew all of this righteousness was as dirty in God's sight as filthy rags.

He once said, is touching the righteousness that is in the law. I am blameless now said I am the chief of sinners.

You see, Paul had something like a balance sheet in his life under assets he listed all of the things that he achieved for himself up to his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road, his birth, his education is achievements even the murder of Stephen when he met Christ came to know what true holiness. Was he came to see what righteousness was, as he looked at all of the things that he had been accumulating in the white light of God's righteousness. They seemed filthy.

He had no other word for them but dung refuse. So we crossed it all out.

Thus he moved the whole column of the things that he had considered assets will render the column of liabilities because he said these things actually kept me from God's righteousness under the column of assets.

He wrote Jesus Christ alone that is what salvation is all about hell is the role of human righteousness actually you need to recognize the perfection of this righteousness and instead accept the righteousness of God. Christians always known this and as a result they've written it into a number of their hymns.

One of the great hymns says nothing in my hands, I bring simply to thy cross. I play naked come to the full dress helplessly for grace file will I to the fountain fly wash me, Savior, or I die rock of ages, cleft for me, but me hide myself in the if you will pray that prayer on will wash you on will cleanse you and he will give you the righteousness that is above anything that man can attain, and receive you on the basis of that righteousness into heaven. Now our father, we thank you for these truths from your word grant that no one hearing these words might go off thinking that he is earned. Heaven, but rather that all may see that righteousness comes as a gift from Jesus Christ speak to the heart enable each one to make that commitment to yourself. That means salvation. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. A man listening to the Bible study our featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyd Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. The physical manifestation of his perfect character and righteousness.

So why didn't the religious leaders of his day recognize him find out in a CD entitled Christ our righteousness. It's by the late Dr. Donald Ray Barnhouse.

We like to send you a copy for free.

It's just our way of saying thanks for listening. Call us at 1-800-488-1888 and will be sure to send you a copy of Christ. Our righteousness, that number again is 1-800-488-1880 8 Earning Our Way to heaven is just one of the many misconceptions people have about Christianity and the Bible. Dr. Boyce's uncompromising messages are essential in today's culture to counter. Print and present hope for the coming generations.

You can help by making a contribution today. Call us directly at 1-800-488-1888 or you can visit us online at the Bible study. Our daughter work. Our mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601 in Canada you could reach the Bible study our at PO Box 24097 RPO Josephine North Bay, Ontario P1 be 0C7 thank you were grateful for your support Dr. Boyce's impact reach far beyond the pulpit are Bible teacher was a prolific author and articulate spokesman for the reformed faith around the world, audio, and print materials from Dr. Boyce's special event broadcasting writing ministries are that's reformed by Mark Daniels. Thanks for listening in.

You know, anger is a part of our lives, but there's a righteous anger over the things of God and unrighteous anger aimed at those who would do us personal harm. How do we control the ladder and reserve our anger for the things that anger God find out next time Ms. Dr. Boyce delves into Jesus perspective on this serious matter of anger that's next time on Bible study our hearing you to think and act

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