In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness” – Jeremiah 23:6 (ESV)
God is known by several identifiers in the Bible. One of them is, “The Lord is our righteousness”, which come from its Hebrew phrases: Jehovah Tsidkenu as seen on Jeremiah 23:6. Righteousness here is a very crucial word. It represents about our position in the eyes of God, in which how God will judge the world (Acts 17:31). Hence, the name-phrases is really fascinating for me. The name implies that God is Israel’s righteousness at that time. God was speaking through His prophet Jeremiah in regards how His people were scattered. He promised that He will gather again His people and lead them again to salvation. This speaks that God is the One who initiates reconciliation with us, His people. What amazes me is that having witnessed how God saved and secured them, then Israel could confess that God is their righteousness. Not by their own effort, but by the grace of God. In the midst of their hardened hearts, they were finally able to say that the LORD is their Lord.
This story serves as a reminder to us about our present condition as well. We were lost and clueless about this life, scattered like sheep without shepherd. Once we found and put our faith in Christ, we were saved and secured in His love (Romans 4:5). We are counted righteous in Christ, not because our good behaviours, but because Christ’s right standing before God is counted as ours when we believe (Romans 4:6,23-25). He lived a holy life and died as a worst sinner, so that we counted as right before God (1 Corinthians 1:30). This is a great miracle that David once reflected about (Psalm 32:2). This truth still fascinate me, to think that Jesus is my righteousness. How many kings in the world sacrificed themselves for their people’s righteousness? None. Perhaps, other people must suffer for the kings’ flaws or mistakes, like how King David masterminded the death of Uriah to cover his blunder (2 Sam 11:15).
Jesus is different. He disregarded His deity to came down to earth and died as a sinner (Philippians 2:6-8), so that we can be counted as righteous in Him. Without His sacrifice, we would not be able to be reunited with Father God (2 Corinthians 5:19). It is counted as our righteousness, when we put the righteousness of the Lamb of God as a covering of our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), just as interestingly represented by the Chinese character “Yi” pictured above. The character represents ‘lamb’ character by the upper and ‘me’ character by the lower character. His righteousness triumphs over our own righteousness. Our self-efforts would never make it to live a holy life pleasing to God, unless He justifies us. His pains is the token for our joy. The new hope amidst our hopelessness to attain right standing before God. Truly, Lord Jesus is our righteousness.