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Inward and outward righteousness


Wednes­day. [Rom. 1:18–27; Matt. 5:20–26] Except your right­eous­ness shall exceed the right­eous­ness of the scribes and Phar­isees, ye shall in no case enter into the King­dom of Heav?en (Matt. 5:20). Char­ac­ter­is­tic of the scribes is knowl­edge of the law with­out con­cern for life accord­ing to the law. Char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Phar­isees is cor­rect­ness of out­ward behav­iour with­out par­tic­u­lar con?cern for cor­rect­ness of thoughts and feel­ings in the heart. Both atti­tudes are con­demned to remain out­side of the heav­en­ly king­dom. Let every?one receive from this the les­son he needs. If you want to learn the Gos?pel law, do so — but in a way that enables you to estab­lish your life ac?cording to this knowl­edge. Try to be cor­rect in your behav­iour, but keep your inner feel­ings and dis­po­si­tions cor­rect at the same time. If you have gained some knowl­edge, do not stop there, but go fur­ther and under­stand the demands such knowl­edge makes of you — then act appro­pri­ate­ly. Let your behav­iour show that your feel­ings and disposi?tions are not the result of exter­nals, but such that your exter­nal behav?iour pro­ceeds from your feel­ings and dis­po­si­tions, and actu­al­ly expresss them. If you gear your­self this way, you will be high­er than the Scribes and Phar­isees, and the doors of the king­dom will not be closed to you.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse