“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 NIV
This passage says something significant about the Ideal Man, Jesus. It is something we must picture to understand. Paul talked about being clothed with Christ at baptism (Galatians 3:27). Colossians, chapter 3, also gives us great detail of this picture. Through God’s process of salvation we take off unrighteousness, as we would take off our filthy, contaminated clothes. I was thinking I just put new clothes over old clothes, thinking I am stuck in sinfulness until this earthly life is over. That God just chooses to see Jesus on me instead of seeing my sin, which is underneath. While I still believe the part about God choosing to see Jesus, God actually tells us there is a literal sin removal going on. So God removes our sins on the cross and He has given us the power to completely disassosiate ourselves with sin.
Jesus Is Our Righteousness is also very good news! I am finding it another level of maturity to be absolutely convinced I have no righteousness in myself. It is easy to start the Christian life a prideful young man. Then you go through trials and get humbled out and hopefully come to the realization there is no righteousness outside of Christ and on my own merit. I think it is easy to look at myself in snapshots. I want to see the best moments, and discard the worst. We can do that when going through our pictures. It is easy to delete bad ones digitally. Sure I have righteous snapshots, but God takes things as a whole (like a roll of film). That is why even my righteousness is unrighteousness in the context of my whole life. The longer you walk with the Lord, the more apparent that becomes.
At the same time, I believe it is another level of maturity the “mature” not always personifies. Do disciples really get more humble as they get older? Some definately do, and all the faithful will. Those whose hearts grow cold unfortunately do not. I am not God, the Spirit, or the Word, so I do not judge hearts, but I get the sense that many can easily get stuck in the Pharisee’s righteousness or self-righteousness. We can be certain that is a trap the enemy will work to lure us into. Of course it wouldn’t be a problem if the person was self-aware enough to see it, but the spirit of pride remains. Perhaps equally as bad, others can sense it but they don’t have enough love and alarm to help them take the specks (or plank) out. Perhaps those who generally correct people tend to have the same problem, while humble people tend to be less likely to confront people? I’m not entirely sure of these observations because I tend to be on the prideful side myself. I’m mainly getting at the realization that Jesus Is Our Righteousness is a conviction God expects to sink down deep and change us entirely. His grace allows for our immaturity up to a point, but our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees.
Only one kind of righteousness does that: The LORD Our Righteousness! I know this article could go further into this very important aspect of the gospel message. It is a remarkable thing about the Messiah to become righteousness for us. When God sees us He sees Christ because Jesus covers us. That awesome thought inspires a different kind of life! He is our life (Colossians 3:4)! That is what is so manly about this passage. He is our righteousness and He is our life! I no longer live but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20)!