December 7, 2016

Jeremiah 33:16 “‘In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The Lord Our Righteousness.'”

Time and time again the Bible points out that human righteousness is worthless before God, (Isaiah 64:6) but He supplies all the righteousness we need if we accept it by faith. That is a central part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30) Every other religion has people striving to be accepted by God in one way or another, with no genuine assurance of salvation, but genuine Christianity says that God counts us as acceptable if we will believe and trust in His perfect Son. That is the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy of “The Lord our Righteousness.” That doesn’t mean at all that our behavior doesn’t matter. Paul went on at length about that in Romans and elsewhere. We are to respond to the love, grace, and forgiveness of God with loving obedience. Jesus said without equivocation, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23) That doesn’t leave any wiggle room! Our focus is not to be on going through the right motions, but on loving Jesus more and accepting His full work in our hearts and lives.

This is a major issue in Japan, because the Japanese are such hard workers the message of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) seems illogical and even wrong to them. That’s why there are more Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan than there are evangelical Christians: they take to the idea of working for your salvation. As I minister I’ve got to let the Holy Spirit tear down that barrier, because it’s for sure I can’t do it on my own. I am to rejoice in the righteousness of God that is mine in Christ and continue to press in to love Him more, not simply for my own sake but as an example to all who are watching me, so that they too may accept the free gift of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:23)

Father, thank You for this reminder. The days are full, and not just with things that delight us. Help me remember Your grace, love, and power at all times, never despairing but always allowing You to use me as an instrument of grace and love. May Your righteousness be manifested in all Your children, not just for their blessing but also to draw many more into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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