Righteousness; December 7, 2017

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.”

This is the foundation of Paul’s exposition of righteousness by faith, in Romans 3 and following. We like to claim righteousness for ourselves, but as Isaiah said, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) Paul said again, in 1 Corinthians 1:30 and 2 Corinthians 5:21, that Christ has become our righteousness, exactly as it says here. We have such trouble accepting that “there is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10, quoting Psalms and Ecclesiastes) We might accept that others aren’t righteous, but we like to think we are the exception! As Revelation 15:4 says, God alone is holy, that is, fully righteous. That is why this statement by God to Jeremiah is so important. We can’t be righteous on our own, but He offers us righteousness as a free gift, if we will accept it by faith. This is absolutely glorious good news, but we have to be humble to receive it; there is no room at all for pride. Sadly, that is a major reason why so many reject it: they want to “do it themselves,” to be able to take pride in their own salvation. How sadly foolish!

Lately there have been many revelations of evil doing on the part of politicians and media personalities, to the point of being nauseating, but honest introspection will show us that “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Looking back over my own life I can see that I had the potential to be as bad or worse than any of those who have been exposed recently, and it both humbles me and gives me a deep gratitude for the grace of God. My present lifestyle is such that people see me as a “holy man,” but they know neither my past nor my heart. God is my righteousness, and I place my trust in Christ alone. It is exactly as I proclaim at every wedding I perform: it is the love of God that caused Him to send His Son so that we might be saved by faith in Him, receiving His righteousness since we have none of our own. I am called and commissioned to proclaim this Good News in Japan. The low rate of acceptance is distressing and at times discouraging, but I am to remember that my righteousness could never get the job done in the first place, and so walk in complete, grateful, obedient dependence on my Lord.

Father, thank You for this reminder. There is no end to the attacks and trials we experience, but that is just as Jesus said, and as He said, I need to rejoice. (John 16:33) You have told me personally to rest, relax, and rejoice. I’m not fully there yet, but I’m learning. Thank You. Help me be an open channel of Your grace and love to all those around me, drinking deeply myself as You flow through me, so that the works of the devil may be destroyed (1 John 3:8) and many set free, 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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