Summary: Second in series that helps us see the importance of the birth of Christ from God’s perspective through the major prophets of the Old Testament.
Jeremiah, like Isaiah in last week’s message, was a "seer"; a prophet who was enabled by God to see things others had not yet seen. Today’s Bible text records what he saw concerning the kingdom of Judah’s immediate and distant future.
In the immediate future he saw that the king of Judah, his advisors, and the false prophets and priests of his administration were going to be punished for misleading the flock of God’s people. They were supposed to be shepherds to the people of God but they failed miserably. According to the rest of this chapter, they would not repent of their immorality, abuse of power, idolatry, and misrepresentation of God’s message. (Jeremiah 23:9-40)
Consequently, the people of God were systematically being taken from their land by foreign nations. The flock of God’s people was being scattered because there were no true shepherds to tend, lead and feed them.
In the midst of this dismal set of circumstances God makes known the coming of One who will meets the needs of the people. He will not only be "a king who will reign wisely and do what is right in the land." (V.5b) But also, "In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety." (V.6a)
As the nations of Judah and Israel were gradually going into captivity in foreign lands, this is a promise that they would return to their land and live under the rule of a worthy king.
Jeremiah goes on to name this king in verse 6: "This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness."
Do we see what Jeremiah saw?
This is of course a messianic prophecy fulfilled by the coming of Jesus.
What we need to see is how this teaching impacts our lives.
Do we see Christmas and the coming of Christ the way God does?
This title given to Christ is the very heart and core of Christian theology!
"The LORD Our Righteousness" is more than just a title of Christ, it is an essential eternal truth!
It is the truth that separates the right way and wrong way of coming to God. The wrong way, man’s way, is RIGHTEOUSNESS BY RELIGION. The right way, God’s way, is RIGHTEOUSNESS BY RELATIONSHIP.
RELIGION says, "I will find a way to make myself righteous enough to be accepted by God."
RELATIONSHIP says, "I will accept the Lord Jesus as my righteousness."
Romans 3:10 - "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one."
Isaiah 64:6 - "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
The Word of God clearly states the human dilemma. We are incapable of meeting God’s standard of righteousness on our own. It is an insult to God to claim we have earned or achieved righteousness by our own merit. It is even false teaching to say we have earned any amount of our right standing with God.
Righteousness is all of God and none of man!
Righteousness is not a by-product of our accomplishment. Rather it is established through a relationship with God.
RELIGION is man’s attempt to overcome his sinful nature on his own.
RELATIONSHIP is God giving a new nature to those who come to him by faith.
2 Peter 1:3-4 - "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
We all know about our inner struggle between right and wrong. Often we don’t win the tug of war. We do sinful things by nature. The evil desires of lust, greed, pride, jealousy, envy, bitterness, fear, etc., rule our lives unless a greater power becomes available to enable us to overcome them.
That power is God’s power available to work in us through the divine nature given to us when we trust Christ and begin a relationship with Him.
This power is "given", we do not earn it.
RELIGION is what man does for God.
RELATIONSHIP is what God does for man.
Titus 3:5-6 - "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom he poured on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior."
Do we see it? Rebirth and renewal are by the Holy Spirit - they are supernaturally achieved.
The question is not,"Do I do enough good deeds for God to love me." The question is, "Have I been reborn?"