The last two weeks we have basically begun our journey to look at the names of God, and already we have seen some amazing things about God and His character, including some things which may have possibly shattered some preconceived and long-held ideas about Him.
For example, we’ve seen that He is always with you. That He will in-fact never leave you – which is a pressure-point for some people who have believed that God comes and goes, or that He ignores and leaves us if we manage to upset Him through bad performance.
We also saw that He is a provider, not just of our bare essential needs, but also a great many of our wants and blessings on top of all that as well.
Today, we are going to continue with this theme, as we look at the ultimate provision and protection that He has offered, as we look at another name of God, one which is guaranteed to break down some spiritual barriers.
As we begin today, it would benefit us to remember that none of what we have looked at (or are about to look at) is man-made. These are not names for God that mankind has created, but these are the names of God which He has identified Himself as. This is important, because as I have mentioned before, God did not need to give Himself a name. He didn’t have to name Himself for His own benefit – but He did so, precisely for our benefit; so that we would know Him better and understand His character and nature. I know that I mention this every time, but it is very important that we understand this, to fully appreciate the names which He has revealed Himself to us as.
The name which we will be looking at today is found in Jeremiah 23:6, and it is יהוה צדקנו, which has been sometimes misinterpreted to mean “the Lord gives us righteousness” – but the reality of the meaning of this name is far greater than that!
This name of God actually translates to the ever-existing God who is our righteousness. (emphasis mine)
And right from the start, I want you to notice that fine detail, because it tells us something about God… that He is not merely the “giver” of righteousness, as-if righteousness was some kind of separate thing apart from Him; a separate entity or object that He doles out. But rather that he is the very embodiment of righteousness! Apart from Him, there is no righteousness!
Additionally, this revelation that God indeed is the very essence of righteousness, also gives us insight into how we receive righteousness – by receiving Him!
Oh, my friend, if I could convey to you the vast numbers of people I have spoken with over the years who have been trying to work-for or earn righteousness through personal performance or sacrifice!
Yet it doesn’t come that way, because it isn’t even separate from God at all! Those who are under the mistaken impression that they can somehow work or sacrifice in order to attain righteousness, are in-fact saying that they believe that they can work-for or sacrifice in order to attain God Himself! Because God and righteousness are one and the same! Once we see this truth, we begin to realize how silly the whole idea of works-based righteousness is, and it begins to crumble!
This then, brings us to the main point of today’s study, and the main point of the name of God which we are looking at, which again is יהוה צדקנו – The ever-existing God is our righteousness… His provision is absolute. His protection is all-encompassing.
We saw last week, how He provides for and protects us physically, mentally and emotionally in this life (if you need a refresher on that, or you haven’t seen it yet, part 2 is here); and now today, we see that His provision and protection extends to the spiritual as well, by Him actually being our righteousness. And this has implications regarding how we appropriate salvation.
Instead of striving for it, earning it, or even paying for it, instead it is something that we receive. Or I should say He is someone we receive. And as we begin to see this, understand this, and grasp it in our mind and spirit, the rest of the pieces will begin to fall into place for us. The words of Jesus that used to be somewhat confusing to us, will start to make sense, such as seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Or when He said that your righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). Or most famously of all when He said be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Jesus said all of these things knowing full well what they meant – and knowing that they were all referencing back to Himself. Though the legalists of that day twisted them into laws, rules and rituals, trying to self-merit righteousness as if it were a thing to be bought. And some people still try to do the same thing today; and end-up missing the very gift of God which Jesus came to give.
That gift, precisely, is Himself. Jesus came to give you, Himself. And with Him, all things are freely given (Romans 8:32).
The principle here, is that it is a gift. It is not a reward for your good behavior. It is not a wage for your work. It is not a payment for your services rendered. You could not earn Jesus regardless of whatever great thing that you may think that you do! Nothing ever could be equal to His glory, greatness or value!
You could never do anything at all, that would require God to give you anything – let alone the greatest of all things (again, Himself).
Yet, He could require Himself, through giving Himself as a gift – and that is exactly what He did, my friend. The only way to be absolutely certain of what God is going to do, is of He has promised it Himself. If God has promised you something; or if He has promised to give you something; or if He has promised to do something – then you can be sure that He will do it.
So has God indeed made a promise regarding salvation and righteousness? Take a look at John 5:24:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.”
Jesus made it perfectly clear. Nothing more is required than to simply believe.
How did this happen? By what vehicle does this come? How are we made righteous exactly? Has God merely “gone soft”?
Not at all! Take a look at Romans 5:17-21:
“For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came on all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came on all men to justification of life.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin has reigned to death, even so might grace reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So we can plainly see, it’s not as if God has simply gone soft on sin or swept it under His heavenly carpet, as some legalistic preachers would try to argue.
Rather, every single one of your sins has already been paid in the body of Jesus Christ on the cross.
By the disobedience of one man (Adam), many were made sinners and death reigned.
Likewise by the obedience of one (Jesus), many are made righteous, and Grace reigns to eternal life.
This, my friend, is how God provides you everything, even eternal life; because He is your righteousness.