Salvation has always been by grace through faith. The scribes and pharisees, however, taught rule keeping and tradition as the way to earn God's favor. They wore a mask of rightousness, and put on the show that they were right with God. In doing so, they closed the door of salvation and lead people to damnation.
The scribes and pharisees put on a mask of righteousness, but underneath the mask they were taking advantage of women who were left vulnerable by the deaths of their husbands. As Christians we are to help the poor and needy. We are to lift up the downtrodden. If we do not have a concern for the less fortunate, then we are hypocrites.
The pharisees were good at finding ways around their word, but that is not the way that we ought to be. God wants us to be a people of our word. If we say that we are going to do something, then we need to follow through with it. Is there a promise that you have made to the Lord that you aren't keeping?
One of the problems that the Pharisees had, was focusing on the small things while leaving the major things undone. They were so worried about paying tithes on their herbs, but failed to give out judgment, mercy, and faith. Are you so consumed with the small things that you are neglecting the major things?
We tend to be so focused on our outward appearance. The Pharisees certainly were. They wrongfully assumed that if everything was as it should be on the outside, then everything must be okay with their relationship with God. What they, and we, sometimes forget, is that God is concerned with what is in our hearts.
Our hearts are desperately wicked, and the Pharisees forgot that. They wanted to pretend that they would not commit the sins that their forefathers committed, but they would commit worse sins. We too are capable of all kinds of wickedness. If we believe that we aren't, then we have been decieved.