Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
First Sunday In
Option #1: "Jeremiah's
Expectation: Something To Look Forward To"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.
Introduction: Most of us have a "Christmas wish list" posted for family members to see. We list what wed like for gifts. We hope that the kindness of family will provide some of these gifts. The Old Testament saints had promises from God whose fulfillment they were awaiting. As we see these promises fulfilled in Christ, we rejoice as we await their complete fulfillment at Christs return.
1) Promises fulfilled--v14; Gen 22:18; Isa 9:6; Lk 10:23-24
2) A just and righteous Savior-King--v15; Isa 11:1-2; Dan 2:44; Zech 9:9; Lk1:69
3) Salvation that satisfies justice and grace simultaneously--Rom 3:21-26; John 5:22-29; Rom 11:26-27; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:7-9; Heb 1:8-9; 2 Pet 1:1-2
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia re: "The Lord our Righteousness": The righteousness upon the ground of which God justifies the ungodly is, according to Paul, witnessed to in the Old Testament (Rom 3:21). In order to obtain the blessedness which comes from a right relation to God, the pardon or non-imputation of sin is necessary, and this takes place through the "covering" of sin (Ps 32:1, 2). The nature of this covering by the vicarious bearing of the penalty of sin is made clear in Isa 53. It is, moreover, the teaching of the Old Testament that the righteousness which God demands is not to be found among men (Ps 130:3; 143:2; Isa 64:6). Accordingly, the prophets speak of a righteousness which is not from mans works, but which is said to be in Yahweh or to come from Him to His people (Isa 32:16f; 45:23ff; 54:17; 58:8; 61:3; Jer 51:10; Hos 10:12). This idea finds its clearest expression in connection with the work of the Messiah in Jer 33:16, where Jerusalem is called "Yahweh our righteousness" because of the coming of the Messianic king, and in Jer 23:6, where the same name is given to the Messiah to express His significance for Israel. Although the idea of the imputation of righteousness is not explicitly asserted in these passages, the idea is not merely that the righteousness spoken of is recognized by Yahweh (Cremer), but that it comes from Him, so that Yahweh, through the work of the Messiah, is the source of His peoples righteousness.
This idea is taken up by Paul, who makes explicit the way in which this righteousness comes to sinners, and who puts the idea of imputed righteousness at the basis of his doctrine of justification. By the righteousness of Christ Paul means Christs legal status, or the merit acquired by all that He did in satisfying the demands of Gods law, including what has been called His active and passive obedience.
That the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the believer does lie at the basis of Pauls doctrine of justification can be further seen from the fact that justification is absolutely free and unmerited so far as the sinner is concerned (Rom 3:24; 5:15; Gal 5:4; Tit 3:7); its object being one who is ungodly (Rom 4:5); so that it is not by works (Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; 3:11; 5:4; Phil 3:9); and yet that it is not a mere pardon of sin, but is a strictly "forensic" or judicial judgment, freeing the sinner from all the claims of the law, and granting him the right to eternal life. This last truth is plain because Gods retributive righteousness lies at the basis of Pauls doctrine of justification (Rom 2); is manifested in it (Rom 3:25f); because Christs work is its ground (Rom 3:25); and because our redemption from the curse of the law rests upon Christs having borne it for us and our redemption from all the demands of the law depends upon their fulfillment by Christ (Gal 3:13; 4:4). ...The gracious character of justification consists for Paul in the fact that the righteousness on the ground of which God justifies the ungodly is a righteousness which is graciously provided by God and which Paul contrasts with his own righteousness which comes from law works (Phil 3:9). The sinner, therefore, is pardoned and accepted as a righteous person, not on account of anything in himself, but only on account of what Christ has done for him.
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Object: wrapped package and one golf club in wrapping paper
It wont be long and youll have your Christmas tree up and gifts under it. Youll try to find the gifts with your name on it. You may even pick up the gift and shake it to see if you figure out if youre getting what you asked for.
The part of the Bible for our study today was written long before Jesus came to our world. They didnt know all the details, anymore than you know what all of your gifts will be, but they knew Gods promises.
The gift they were waiting for was Jesus, our Savior and King. Jeremiah called him "The Lord, our Righteousness." Thats a big word, so Ill try to explain.
Christmas is about Gods gift of our Savior, so I dont really like that song that tells children how good they must be to get their gifts. Jesus our Savior was Gods gift for sinful people. He is exactly the gift we need. He takes away our sins and carries them with him to the cross. He died for our sins on the cross.
In place of our sins, he gives us his righteousness. Theres that word again! It means that he sets things straight that were crooked. It means that what he did for us is given to us as a gift. It is as if we had never sinned because we have his perfect record transferred to us by faith.
Jeremiah and the other prophets and millions of people in the Old Testament looked forward to Jesus coming. You look forward to the gifts you will receive at Christmas.
There was a young man who was hoping to get a special gift from his parents at Christmas. This is what he saw under the tree. (A gift-wrapped golf club.) When no one was home, he said, he would go into the living room and take some swings with it. "I was already enjoying it," he said, "as if it were already mine."
Thats how we are to look at the Christmas promises that have not yet been kept. Jesus our Righteous King is coming back. He said: "I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
Thats the best part of Christmas--and its just beginning. Look forward to it. Enjoy it! Its yours!
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM