"Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness.' (Jeremiah 33:14-16 (ESV)
And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our Righteousness.”
It? The name by which it will be called? What is it?
We have 3 verses here in this old Testament lesson, somewhat divorced from the rest of the chapter. But Jeremiah 33 is worth a read on it’s own. Anyone who says the Old Testament is all law, failed to read that chapter. That is Gospel. These 3 verse are gospel. God is promising to restore Judah, and Jerusalem. A city he has described as baren and desolate. And of course there is a tendency to read this with a degree of literality, as if this was talking of the actual physical state of Jerusalem and not its spiritual state of affairs. In truth, there is a little of both here. God uses the physical state of affairs to illustrate the spiritual.
Of course the physical often betrays the spiritual, or the mental or emotional. Watch the show “Biggest Loser” and just see how much time they spend trying to cure childhood emotional wounds these people received in order to help them lose weight. Not too long ago I was talking to a pastor about his first congregation. He showed up and the congregation was in a shambles. It showed with just the exterior of the church. A congregation that is not getting along doesn’t take care of its worship facilities either. Reminded me of the way things have changed here over the years. So it was with Jerusalem. They had turned from God, the Chosen people were suffering a spiritual crisis and this led to defeat by the Chaldeans, and a sorry state of affairs for the city. Even if it wasn’t as desolate as made out, it was spiritually desolate.
But God reminds the people through Jeremiah of the promises he has made to Judah and Jerusalem. “In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” We know this righteous Branch that sprang up For David. He executes justice and righteousness, not only in Judah, but wherever his gospel is heard. There people are transformed from sinners to forgiven sinners. He executed this justice once and for all on the Cross. Executed justice. He took the justice upon himself, suffering and dying for sin, so that he could make others righteous. And wherever this gospel of peace between heaven and earth, the reconciliation of the world to God in Jesus Christ, there his kingdom is established, there the city of peace, the city of God, the seat of his kingdom is established. There the desolate places, dilapidated and dying churches and congregations come back to life because God establishes his kingdom there. All physical dimensions of Judah and Jerusalem are lost, the spiritual takes over. Now the kingdom of Judah, the city of Jerusalem are given a new name, and it’s name is “The Lord is our Righteousness,” because this is the gospel by which God’s kingdom comes, and by which God’s kingdom is established a Kingdom of Grace, a Kingdom of forgiveness. This Kingdom is called “The Lord is our righteousness,” because we are righteous in him. We don’t find our righteousness in ourselves. We don’t find our righteousness in the works of the law. We find our righteousness only in Christ, in his cross, and the forgiveness of sins he proclaims.