Week Twenty-Three, Day One
Righteousness isn't a popular word in our culture. Yet righteousness is essential to our happiness because it involves being in right relationship or right standing with God and conforming to his character, fulfilling our responsibilities toward him and others. But righteousness is impossible for us to achieve, no matter how much we might long for it. It comes only as God's gift to us through faith in his Son. When we pray to the Lord Our Righteousness, we are praying to the One who has intervened on our behalf to restore us to his likeness and therefore to fellowship with himself.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6)
GOD REVEALS HIS NAME
"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness... "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."(Jeremiah 23:5-6; 31:33)
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. (Romans 3:21-25a)
Father, I admit that I have sinned and fallen far short of your glory—of your purity, your justice, your integrity, your mercy, and your love. I have no right to stand in your presence, except by the grace of your Son through his offering of love on the cross.Thank you, God, for drawing me back when I was so far away. Help me to hunger and thirst for righteousness on this earth—that all men and women might return to you and give you glory through the love and power and mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Understanding the Name
The Hebrew word tsedeq is usually translated as "righteousness" but can also be translated as "righteous," "honest," "right," "justice," "accurate," "just," "truth," or "integrity." Righteousness primarily involves being in right standing with God. As such it concerns fulfilling the demands of relationship with both God and with others.
Though people were often called righteous in the Hebrew Scriptures if they observed the Law, Jesus and the writers of the New Testament stress that righteousness is not merely a matter of outward behavior but a matter of the heart—of thoughts, motives, and desires. The goal is not merely to do what God says but to become like him. In the words of Addison Leitch, righteousness "is primarily and basically a relationship, never an attainment. . . . Christian righteousness . . . is a direction, a loyalty, a commitment, a hope—and only someday an arrival."
The prophet Jeremiah predicted the coming of a King who would be called "The LORD Our Righteousness" (yah-WEH tsid-KAY-nu). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by restoring our relationship with God through his life, death, and resurrection. Paul proclaims in his letter to the Romans, "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Romans 3:21-22).
Studying the Name
- Jeremiah reveals that the coming King will be known as "The LORD Our Righteousness." What comes to mind when you hear the words "righteous" or "righteousness"?
- What does it mean to have God's law written on your heart?
- How do you think Jesus' sacrifice has affected your relationship with God?
- What do you think it means to have "faith in his blood"?
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.