Thursday, November 13, 2014

True Righteousness

Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Heb 12:2  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

In several places the Bible points out that Jesus went to the cross voluntarily.  I have been thinking about that lately as to why this point is revealed to us; what is the significance?  On the one hand we know that the second Person of the Godhead had to be in perfect agreement with the will of the Father because that is the nature of the Trinity.  There are not three Gods, independent of each other but three persons that make up the being of God who are in perfect harmony and love.  But I think there is more to all this than just the fact that the Son agreed in eternity to be the Lamb of God. 

In fact, Jesus didn’t just have to agree to do the will of the Father but had to delight in obeying the Father in order for him to be a suitable sacrifice and to produce a righteousness that could be imputed to us. 

Consider for a moment Heb. 12:2 above.  What was the joy set before Jesus that enabled him to endure the cross which wasn’t so much his physical pain but knowing that he would have to endure the wrath of God against sin and separation from the Father?  Some tend to think it was the salvation of sinners and no doubt that element was there.  But the joy points to the delight he had in doing the Father’s will and the glory that would come in his redemptive plan being carried out.  Redemption and everything else that exists is about God glorifying himself firstly; it is about saving sinners to the extent it glorifies God. 

We see this also in Joh 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.  What we are seeing is a remarkable look at the heart of Jesus and what true righteousness and true law keeping is all about.  The only thing that motivated him in everything he does, both eternally and while on earth is to please and glorify the Father.  There was nothing more important than that to Jesus.

There is another passage that is helpful here.  Joh 8:28  So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. Joh 8:29  And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him." 

Jesus taught that keeping the Law means to love God with all of your person.  If anything is clear in the OT it is that lip service and outward conformity means nothing if the heart isn’t in it.  So my point in all of this is that in order for Jesus to be perfectly righteous in the true sense of the word, the absolute love for the Father had to be the driving motivation behind everything he did.  Anything short of that would have been sin.  In this we see that submitting to the cross was much more than just doing it because he had to or because there just wasn’t any other way to save sinners, etc.  For there to be one instance in all of his 33 years in which his motivation wasn’t perfect, sin would have been found in him.  The righteousness we need on our account in order to be accepted by God is the kind that loves God supremely and lives accordingly. 

Not only does this give us a glimpse at just who Jesus Christ was as the God/Man but it should make it crystal clear how far from righteous we are.  I am not sure that I have ever done anything purely out of love for the Lord without self getting involved somewhere.  And I am sure that my motivations for what I do are often more about me than the Lord.  The last thing I want is to stand before the Lord in my own righteousness. 

Praise God for a wonderful Savior in Jesus Christ who always did things that pleased the Father!  Because Jesus is always righteous he will never be forsaken by the Father (And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him) then those in Christ can know that we will never be forsaken.

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