Jeremiah tells us that the Savior God was preparing to send would not only be a descendent of David but also something more - "a righteous Branch" (v. 5) and "The Lord Our Righteousness" (v. 6). In other words, God himself was planning to step into the picture to reestablish the right relationship between us and him that sin had destroyed. The way he would do that is by sending his own Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30)."
Whitney T. Kuniholm wrote this in reflecting on Jeremiah Chapter 23 in his book I am journaling through titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story.
"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.' (Jeremiah 23:5-6, ESV)What a word? Righteousness. It is one of those words people, in general, are uncomfortable in using. Even more uncomfortable with applying it to themselves or even other people they like and respect.
Here is how Dictionary.com defines this word: "Righteousness –noun 1. the quality or state of being righteous. 2. righteous conduct. 3. the quality or state of being just or rightful: They came to realize the righteousness of her position on the matter."
... and here is the definition for "Righteous –adjective 1. characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law. 2. morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation. 3. acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person."
So to put this together Righteousness is the quality or state of being moral, pure, and just. Ok now say "I am righteous". Feels a little uncomfortable. Doesn't it? Perhaps it should?
“Righteousness” and “righteous,” appear 542 times in the Bible. From reading about it in the Bible I would define righteous as judged right or innocent by God. According to Thayer and Smith in The New Testament Greek Lexicon Righteousness "in a broad sense" is the "state of him who is as he ought to be".
I like what Shawn Lantz wrote in her blog under the title of "The Meaning of Righteousness":
"Righteousness is right-standing with God. It is utterly impossible for me, a human being who cannot possibly attain the standard of perfection that God demands, to be righteous by my deeds. Every action of mine is tainted somehow. My human nature knows nothing but to be selfish, ungrateful, or disobedient. I have to fight those base desires everyday. A good deed that comes from me has been stained somehow by my inability to be good enough by myself."
So if right-standing with God can not be achieved through our own effort and our deeds - how can we ever be considered righteous? No wonder it is uncomfortable to even say "I am righteous."
In Romans Paul writes:
Now to anyone who works, their wages are not credited to them as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to anyone who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5)Righteousness comes through faith.
It is because of him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let those who boast boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30-31)Christ has become OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Through Jeremiah God gave the world a preview of the coming Savior King, a preview of how humans could be called righteous. The preview is in the name for the Messiah - "The LORD is our righteousness". A preview of both the righteousness of Christ and of ours.
We are Righteous in Christ. Christ is our righteousness.
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