Trading In Our filthy Rags
by Tom George
T

he expression “The Lord Our Righteousness” is found only in two verses in the Bible. Both are in the Book of Jeremiah:

•“In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (23:6).*
• “In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (33:16).

Both of these verses refer to the reign of Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth as “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev.17:14). At that time, the Jewish people will be gathered from all the countries where they have been scattered and once again dwell in their own land.

The beginning of this reality was seen in May 1948, when the nation of Israel was reborn in their ancient homeland. It will be completed when the Jewish people “in their own land shall dwell safely under a ‘Christ-ocracy,’ far more privileged than the old theocracy” (Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown Commentary).

    The Lord Our Righteousness

The Jewish people can look forward to a time when they will dwell in peace and safety in their homeland during the reign of the Messiah . . . but how does this apply to Christians?

Although Jeremiah 23:6 and 33:16 are promises to God’s chosen people, Christ is also “The Lord Our Righteousness” to Gentiles who accept Him. The apostle Paul declared, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

In the Old testament, righteousness often was associated with deeds. “Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us” (Deut. 6:25). However, under the new covenant, righteousness is associated with a relationship with the Lord.

It is in Christ and through Him alone that we obtain righteousness before God. The apostle Peter said we “have obtained like precious faith . . . by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:1, 3).

The Bible sets forth the inadequacy of our righteousness: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteous- nesses are like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).

    The Lord My Righteousness

I first attended a Pentecostal church more than 52 years ago, shortly before Wilma and I married. Six weeks after our wedding, I attended my second Pentecostal service on Valentine’s Day 1962. That night, kneeling side by side in the altar, Wilma and I accepted the Lord’s righteous- ness into our lives.

We discovered the truth if Paul’s words” “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). We had no works of righteousness, but that night we “became heir of the righteousness which is accord- ing to faith” (Heb. 11:7).

    The Promise of Righteousness

Although our righteousness is inadequate, we have the promise of receiving the righteousness that comes through faith in The Lord Our Righteous- ness. “You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

The Lord Jesus Christ “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness of believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. . . . “The Lord Our Righteousness” is a sweet name to a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in his conscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worth of it (Matthew Henry Commentary).

Yes, Jesus Christ our Savior, the Lord of lords and King of kings, is The Lord Our Righteousness—not only to the Jewish nation, “but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).