Bible Studies for Life Sunday School lesson originally published here at the Biblical Recorder.
Focal Passage: Jeremiah 33:3-8; 14-16
In Jeremiah 33, the Lord makes a great many claims: “I will answer you” and “will tell you,” “I shall strike down,” “I have hidden my face,” “I will bring it to health and healing,” “I will heal them and reveal to them,” “I will restore” and “rebuild,” “I will cleanse them,” I will forgive,” “I will fulfill the promise,” “I will cause a Righteous Branch.” Finally, Jeremiah declares that Jerusalem will be called, “The Lord is our righteousness.” I hope the pattern is obvious. The Lord is the active agent when it comes to righteousness. We are like the people of Israel. We have been given commands and expectations, but we consistently fail. We are certainly to strive toward righteousness. No doubt the Scripture teaches that God expects holiness. But we must acknowledge that we have no hope of earning the righteousness we desperately need. When we examine our lives against the expectations of righteousness that God has for us, we can grow depressed and discouraged. Thankfully, the Lord does not leave us wandering in hopelessness. He acts, answers, heals, forgives, fulfills and provides a Righteous Branch. The Righteous Branch is none other than the Lord Jesus who is the incarnated fulfillment of God’s righteousness for us. Jesus came to do what we could not. He obeyed God’s Law, kept every standard and fulfilled every expectation. He did what we could not do. Because he is Righteous, he could take our place. He became our substitute, carrying our sin on the cross and transferring his Righteousness to us. Again, I hope the pattern is obvious. Jesus is the active agent with regard to righteousness. We cannot hope to earn God’s approval. But we can receive it. We should heed the Lord’s command to Jeremiah, “Call to me.” If we will call upon the Lord, we can receive the Righteousness without which we cannot know the Lord.