Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15). What are the “days” God is talking about here? He’s speaking of the time when the vision would be fulfilled—and the “righteous branch” is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ!

Beloved, God has fulfilled this vision through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. He has established His Church, and its name is not Baptist or Pentecostal or any other name but simply “The Lord our righteousness” (verse 16).

Yet here is the most wonderful news of all. God said this Church “shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it [make for them]” (verse 9).

The literal meaning of this last phrase is, “They shall quiver and be startled, full of the awe and fear of God.” God was saying, “I’m going to do something so amazing, so clearly full of My abundant peace and truth, that people will tremble with fear!”

Yet, what would cause this fear and trembling? Would it be a harsh message of judgment? The preaching of the law? An expression of God’s wrath? No! All fear and trembling would come through a revelation of God’s goodness, and an expression of His unmerited blessing, providing His people with an abundance of peace and rest.

When the Lord promised to be His people’s righteousness through faith, did the Israelites suddenly begin to walk carelessly, lowering His standard of holiness? No, not at all. Rather, His promise of peace and rest would cause them to tremble in fear.

We see a picture of this holy trembling in Mark 4. When a storm threatened the disciples’ very lives, Jesus rebuked the wind and sea, saying, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). How did the disciples react to this? Scripture says, “They feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (verse 41).

Why did these men “fear exceedingly”? It was because He settled the storm and brought peace and calm. In short, they trembled at the goodness that Christ showed His faithless, undeserving followers.