Chapter 15 The Lord Our Righteousness

This is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6).

The Old Testament prophets spoke of Christ no less than did the apostles of the New Testament. Jeremiah speaks of Him in this verse as Jehovah-Tsidkenu—THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. We people of Adam’s race have no righteousness of our own. By reason of sin, man lost all legal righteousness and is no longer innocent of transgression. His original character suffered ruin and wreck. It is because of this loss that the Son of God came from heaven into our humanity and died the accursed death of the cross. Sin has been removed by His precious blood. By the sacrifice of Himself our Lord bore the full penalty of sin in His own body on the tree. It is not enough, however, to be pardoned. Man must be clothed in a garment of righteousness to stand in the presence of God who is most holy. Where then is such a righteousness to be found with which man might be covered? It cannot be woven by himself. Each day we are faulty. The lusts of the flesh are still present and, at times, prevail. There is no alternative to this—that we must be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. While His blood cleanses us, it is His perfect life which clothes us.

The Personal Dignity of Our Lord

When the word “LORD” is printed in large letters it means, in the original Hebrew, Jehovah. This is God’s incommunicable name. No creature dare use that name. Yet it is here assigned to Messiah—the Christ—the Lord Jesus. This is confirmed by many Old Testament Scriptures which are expounded in the New Testament. We may, for instance compare Isaiah 6:5, with John 12:41; Isaiah 45:22, 23, with Romans 14:10, 11; or Malachi 3:1, with Luke 1:76. The Lord Jesus is Jehovah God. The Messiah of the Jews is the Saviour of the Gentiles, and only God can save either. Our Lord bears the incommunicable title of the Most High God. It is a monstrous evil to deny the Lord’s Deity. It is He who made all things, for “Without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3); “By Him were all things created” (Colossians 1:16). Who but God could create the heavens and the earth? As He made them, so He upholds them. But this text speaks of His righteousness. In His life on earth there was never the breath of sin nor the taint of iniquity—no defect—no error—no guile—no flaw—no omission. He magnified the law and made it honorable. Thus, in personal dignity our Lord is the righteous One. Let Roman Catholics read the text aright. It is not “she” but “He”—He who is the eternal Son of God. When we trust Him as our Lord and Saviour, God not only uses the precious blood of Christ to cleanse us but imputes to us His righteousness, which, as the hymnwriter says, “My beauty is, my glorious dress.”

The Official Dignity of Our Lord

The title Jehovah belongs equally to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—One in divine essence and nature. But the added words “Our Righteousness” is a peculiar title to the Son of God alone, since it belongs to Him as the Son of man. He is, therefore, One with the Father and the Holy Spirit—in glory equal, in majesty co-eternal. But there is no salvation except by the work wrought out here on earth by the Son of God as the Son of man. Every saved soul in heaven ascribes his salvation to the blood and righteousness of our incarnate God.

This doctrine of THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS is the very foundation of all our hope and peace. Adam’s sin was imputed to us when he sinned because we were seed in him. Therefore, when he sinned his seed was also defiled. In the same way the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us when we believe, since He was our Representative and, as we proved to be, seed in Him. It is by Adam we fell; it is by Christ that we rise. The angels fell but never rise since Christ was never their Representative. Imputed righteousness is the granite rock on which we stand as saved of the Lord. We are justified by faith in Christ who died and rose again as our Representative. We stand before God, as believers, robed in the Saviour’s garments—a divinely woven garment and of better material than Adam’s original human righteousness. This covering is compared in Scripture to white linen—that is, spotless. It is spoken of as “wrought gold”—that is, dignified and beautiful. It is the “best robe” given the prodigal on his return to his father. The covering is everlasting. It will not wear out. Its threads will never give way. Nothing can ever mar its intrinsic beauty.

The Private Duty of Each Person

Our duty is to ascribe to the Lord the honor due to His name. We are not saved by works. If that was possible then why did God send His beloved Son from heaven to earth and to the cross of shame? We are not saved by faith and works, for if we contribute anything we rob the Lord of His official dignity and steal some of His honor. No! We are saved by faith alone and that without works. How can we stand before God in a garment part woven by Christ and part woven by ourselves? We must stand before God in Christ alone—“Not having our own righteousness” but His—and His alone. We are not to mock our Lord by giving Him titles which are not due to Him. That would be the same kind of mockery as the Jews who cried, “Hail, King of the Jews!” He is God; we must believe that! He is Righteousness; we must believe that! Let us be utterly sincere when we call Him “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Rejoice in Him as a Friend all-glorious and as a Saviour all-prevailing. Oh, let us be grateful indeed that He is that to us!

Come all ye saints of God!
Publish through earth abroad
Jesus’ great fame:
Tell what His love has done;
Trust in His name alone;
Shout to His lofty throne,
Worthy the Lamb.

Hence! gloomy doubts and fears;
Dry up your mournful tears;
Swell the glad throng:
To Christ, the heavenly King,
Strike each melodious string,
Worthy’s the Lamb.

Hark how the choirs above,
Filled with the Saviour’s love,
Dwell on His name!
There, too, shall we be found,
With light and glory crowned,
While all the heavens resound
Worthy’s the Lamb.

—James Boden