Bible Reading: Jeremiah 7:5-7, Romans 3:21-31
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it - the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe" (Romans 3:21-22).
Jeremiah 7 talks about the impending judgment to come for God's people who turned away from God and decided to serve idols. Stiff-necked people had rejected to obey God or listen to Him. They had decided to live life their own way, forsaking God's say. We are very much like them. We also deserve God's wrath.
However, Jeremiah 7:5-7 gives a condition for God to change His mind. It says, "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice on with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the wido, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the ladn that I gave of old to your fathers forever."
Only if we deny our sinful ways, our idolatry, our selfish paths where we cut corners at the expense of others, then we can dwell in the promised land with God. The question is, who can ever satisfy these conditions? Is there anyone who can genuinely turn away from their idols? No matter how hard we try, if we get rid of one idol, we will only unconsciously start to worship a different one.
We are stuck in our sin. In fact, we are dead in our sins. There is no way we can attain salvation or redemption. We are destined to receive God's wrath. It is just and holy for us to receive it. How Jeremiah 7 describes God's wrath is something we don't often hear in our churches nowadays. It's uncomfortable; yet, it's the reality.
How then are we to escape such formidable wrath?
Romans 3 tells us the good news. There is another way apart from perfect obedience to the law. That way is Christ. Christ came from heaven to become a man. We could not live a life that obeyed God however Christ did. Being 100% God and 100% man, He lived a perfect life of obedience to His heavenly Father. He fulfilled the law, He lived a righteous life. And now, this righteousness of Christ has been manifested to all those who have faith and believe in Jesus Christ! This is not any made up righteousness; it is God's righteousness. It means that this righteousness is accepted by God. Through Christ's sacrifice on the cross, our sins are paid for. And when we receive Christ by faith, we are clothed in His righteousness. We are justified by a free gift of grace God gave to us.
The person who could satisfy Jeremiah 7:5-7 is Christ! And He has done so for us and for all who believe. He took our place and lived a righteous life, then paid for our sins. We are clothed in His righteousness. Praise be to God forever!
Does this mean we no longer have to obey the law because Christ has already done it? By no means. Instead, we should uphold it because we know how much God has already loved us. Let us learn to walk in Christ's footsteps.
Lord, thank You that we are clothed in Your righteousness. We are sinful, and there is no way we have a right standing before the Father. However, Christ died for us and gave us His perfect righteousness. We praise You for Your gift of grace. Teach us to fathom Your love and teach us to obey You and follow in Christ's footsteps from today on. In Jesus' name, amen.