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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