6 Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord Our Righteousness, part 3 Man’s Only Hope

Jehovah Tsidkenu…The LORD Our Righteousness

American Standard Version (ASV)

Romans 3:10-18

As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

I hope our previous study brought home one truth, a fact that cannot be denied. No man is righteous. Mankind is condemned because he cannot maintain the standards of our holy Creator by his own efforts. No man can present himself before the throne of God with his head held high and say, “I have religiously kept your commandments from my youth. I am without fault and I demand entrance into heaven on the basis of my own efforts.” This man is spoken of by Paul in Romans 10:1-3  Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness

The Israelites were zealous for God. They avidly obeyed the law, even adding to it in an effort to perfect righteousness. God was their objective and this was a good thing, an admirable vocation, but it was flawed. They did not submit to God’s righteousness. As a matter of fact, they did not understand that the righteousness of God was based on faith. That faith was a gift from God, free…without strings or human effort. There was nothing they could do to earn it.

We are often in the same boat as the Israelites. We go to church, sing the hymns, pray, and even study one day a week or maybe two. We are busy, busy, busy, doing the work of the “church”. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but it is not enough. We do not have discernment about the real meaning of righteousness, the kind of righteousness required of us by God.

So what is righteousness?  Righteousness is attained when we conform to God’s standards of right and wrong. In Christianity, Judaism and Islam righteousness is also defined as rectitude, or the sense of being judged as righteous, leading a life that is pleasing to God. The dictionary defines righteousness as being morally upright, without guilt or sin. According to these definitions…no one can declare himself righteous.  Isaiah 64:6 NLT “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we put on our prized robes of righteousness, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves we fade, wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.”

“Is it not marvelous that people can read the Bible and all the time fail to see its essential teaching and its personal application to themselves? There is scarcely anything more surprising and saddening than the presence of intellectual knowledge of God’s Word with an utter failure to appreciate its spiritual meaning and force.” Dr Griffith Thomas

We carry our big pristine Bibles back and forth for years and never perceive what it really means to be saved. We do not grow. We see no Spiritual growth because we do not develop Spiritual discernment.

Elohim, the Trinity, looked at the ruin and misery that resulted from the depravity, deceit, destruction, and hurt of sin and declared that the whole world was guilty before Him. The holy God looked at man and said, For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:4 It is a righteous judgment for He is the Creator and His character of righteousness requires justice and truth. Yet His character is also merciful, loving.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

So God has a problem. If He does what His Holy nature requires, He would wipe out the whole nasty bunch and be done with it. What about His love and mercy? God must keep all of His character attributes in balance if He is to be righteous. Remember the hymn by Avis B. Christiansen?

“Love found a way to redeem my soul,

Love found a way that could make me whole:

Love sent my Lord to the cross of shame,

Love found a way, O praise His Holy name.

With loving wisdom and power Elohim, brought forth the gospel which is the power of God to bring salvation to mankind. It was love that found a way. God retained His holiness, His mercy, justice and truth and His power gave it birth. The incarnate son of God was to be the way. In the form of Jesus, God could completely identify with man so He might bring redemption to a lost humanity. Psalm 85:11-10 describes the person of Christ.  Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.

Romans 3:19, 21 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.

This versetells us that the righteousness of God was manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, because Christ was God manifest (made known) in the flesh and the purpose of His coming was to atone for the sins of mankind.

Romans 5:6-11 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

He alone was suited for the task because He wrote the law which man had broken. He was without sin. He that was without sin became sin for us “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Those who put their faith in Christ are declared righteous. Does God declare one righteous who is not? Not at all. The only true righteousness on this planet is imputed righteousness and imputed righteousness is the imputed Christ. I did not understand this for years and still discover layers of meaning as I study it today.

What does imputed mean? “to take something that belongs to someone and credit it to another’s account.”

When Adam sinned, his inner being was transformed. He developed an inclination to sin. Evidently it works like genetics. Our tendency to sin, the desires we have that are not a reflection of God’s thoughts, the condition of sin imbedded in us began with Adam and as his offspring, his sin is imputed or credited to us. We are born already morally impure and the original sin shows up throughout our lives in what we do, how we think, and how we make our choices. Adam not only passed on his humanity, and physical traits, and intelligence, He passed to his descendents his sinful nature. W are born sinners and that is why we sin.

“We are regarded as having sinned in Adam, and hence as deserving of the same punishment. This is imputed sin. Thus, we not only receive polluted and sinful natures because of Adam’s sin (original sin), but we are also regarded as having sinned in Adam such that we are guilty of his act as well (imputed sin). Imputed sin is the ruin of our standing before God and is thus not an internal quality but an objective reckoning of guilt, whereas original sin is the ruin of our character and thus is a reference to internal qualities. Both original sin and imputed sin place us under the judgment of God.”

(What is the Difference Between Original Sin and Imputed Sin? January 23, 2006 by Matt Perman)

Lest anyone think this is unfair, how many people have been able to resist their legacy of sin? Just as the sin of our father, Adam, was credited to our account, another man without sin was needed to bring us back into right standing with ‘God.
Jesus came as a man and lived a life completely pleasing to God. He was able to satisfy the demands of God’s law. He became the infinite lamb who bore the sins of infinite humanity. My sins were credited to him and He paid the penalty. Galatians 3:13 He became a curse for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We become righteous through Christ. How does this come about?

This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, Romans 3:22

We do not become righteous by being good, we become righteous through faith in Christ. We do not come by righteousness naturally; God makes us that way

Create in me a pure heart, O God,and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 Only God can “create.” He alone can take that which in impure and ugly within us and fashion something entirely new. Our righteousness is in His hands. Our righteousness is in the LORD.

Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith. Robert Brault

The question is, Faith in what?

The Word of God is clear. Mankind is guilty, unrighteous, filthy in the sight of God, incapable of doing good. We cannot attain, much less maintain, God’s standards of right and wrong; but God assures us that there is hope for sinful man. A careful examination of Romans 3-8 inspires an awesome reverence for God, who is the source of all righteousness.

 

Read Romans 3:10-18.


10 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God;
12 They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one:
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: 4 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 

Paul begins by quoting Psalm, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah.  Read Psalm 14:1 
 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good.

Paul is using this verse as the basis for his statement that no one is good, no one is righteous.  There are no exceptions.  No one is righteous.  No one is deserving of God’s love.

 

  1.  According to Romans 3:10, what are two other areas where man is lacking?

 

Man does not understand God and He is not trying to find out.  From the time of Adam, God has been the seeker and the only source of our salvation.  All have turned away and become worthless.”

 

 

  1.  Read Isaiah 53:6  Whose way are we following?

We have detoured from the path of righteousness and become worthless. The King James version uses the word “unprofitable” Another way of translating it would be “sour,” or “corrupted,” “useless.” Because we are not following the path laid out for us by God, sin takes over our hearts and we become selfish, self centered, without the ability to produce the Fruits of the Spirit

  1. 3.   Are there any exceptions? Read Psalm 14:3

 

All have turned away from God and His goodness.

 

4. Can you provide an example of the following? a) The throat is an open sepulchre;

 

 The throat is an open grave which spews the corruption of the heart. Filthy language permeates our society. We hear foul and filthy language on television and on the streets. This language comes from the corruption in the heart. Just as the stench of the corrupted body spews forth when the grave is opened, the rotten corruption in our hearts comes out when we open our mouth.

 

b) the poison of asps is under their lips, c)  Read Isaiah 59:7-8 feet are swift to shed blood,

5. Read Psalm 5:9, Psalm 140:3, Psalm 10:7. a) Add to your list of “lip sins.

We know the problem, now what is the answer? What is the only hope for a planet of insensitive, corrupt, impious fools, who spoil everything around them? “The only hope for the race, the Scriptures teach, is for individuals to turn to the LORD for salvation.” The Bible Knowledge commentary, Old Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Psalm 14:1-3 pg 802

 

6. Read Psalm 36:1 What do the wicked do that Paul also attributes to the unrighteous. (They do not fear God.)

7. Read Proverbs 1:7, Job 28:28, Proverbs 9:10  What is the “fear of the Lord.”  How should we act on receiving wisdom?

 

 The fear of the Lord is wisdom and knowledge of God is understanding that in order to be accepted by Him we must depart from evil.

 

8. Read Ecclesiastes 12:13  What is the duty of man?

 

When we have the proper perspective of God, We hold him in awe as the mighty Creator of the Universe, as the source of all righteousness and wisdom. We will reverence Him by worship, trust, obedience and service.

 

9. Read Psalm 15:1-5   Who among us can claim to be perfect in our obedience to the list in these verses?

 

We have learned that righteousness is being right with God; reverent and obedient. We also have learned that no one possesses righteousness nor can he be justified it by his own effort.

 

10. Read James 2:10. Can we keep the law?

11. Read Galatians 2:16.If a person could be perfectly obedient to the law, yet could not reach righteousness, how can it be achieved?

 

12. Read Hebrews 2:17-18 and II Corinthians 5:21 How does He make us righteous?

 

Elohim, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, possess the qualities of love, justice, holiness, truth, mercy, wisdom, and power in perfect balance. therefore, only God is righteous. (James E. Hanson, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Takoma, Washington) Because he alone is righteous, He alone can impute that righteousness to a sinful man who has repented and come to saving knowledge of Christ as his personal Savior.

 

13. Read John 1:12  Who has the right to become children of God?

14. Now reread the verse that uses the name Jehovah Tsidkenu for the first time in the Old Testament.  Jeremiah 23:5-6, Revelation 5:5, 22:16 Who is the righteous branch? Who is Jehovah Tsidkenu, man’s only hope of attaining righteousness?

 

6 Jehovah Tsidkenu, The Righteousness of Man, Part 2

The Pharisees Question Jesus

The Pharisees Question Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Righteousness of Man

Galatians 6:3(New Living Translation)

3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

(NIV) If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Under the Law of Moses, man had no Savior. There was no atoning blood available to him. If he did right, he was righteous. Human effort produced the righteousness of man. When Christ came, the Jews could not rid themselves of the doctrine of justification through works. They could not accept the doctrine of righteousness by faith in Christ. In present times, many fail to take hold of righteousness that does not come from human effort. When we depend on our own efforts, we open ourselves to boast of our own self righteousness. Under the guise of man’s righteousness, atrocities have been committed that cause us to shudder in the face of such inhumane treatment of our fellow man. The Hitlers of history have believed they were operating under righteous fervor. A self righteous man will go to any length to force his ideas of right on others.

Righteousness that is self imposed can have a result that denigrates mankind as a whole and destroys the capacity to see the benefits of the righteousness of God. Self righteousness blinds a man to their inability to be obedient wholeheartedly to the Law of Moses. The person who sees righteousness as coming solely from his own effort fails to see that the law is the righteousness of God defined in terms of human understanding.

1. What does Proverbs 30:12 say about those who are pure in their own eyes (self righteous)?

So what is righteousness? Righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven. That is a far cry from the definition of self righteousness. “Confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others,” or as seen in the Bible, legalism…the idea that we can work a righteousness in our own effort that will be acceptable to God.

2. What does Romans 3:10 say about the righteousness of mankind?

At one point in time or another, each of us think that we can be righteous in and of ourselves. Jesus spent a lot of time in his ministry teaching that righteousness in our own strength is worthless. We see it in Luke 18:9-14 in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee came to the temple to pray, trusting that he had kept the law and by so doing was righteous thus anyone else was contemptible. The tax collector was humble and on his knees with grief because he knew there was nothing about him or his life that would cause God to look upon him in favor. Jesus spent considerable time teaching his disciples the dangers of self righteousness.

3. According to John 15:5 what did Jesus say about our efforts without him?

How can we tell if we are afflicted with the spiritual disease of self righteousness?

A. When we are adamantly sure that we are right, we have nothing else to learn. When we are sure that we have kept the law, we have no need for the righteousness of Christ. I am innocent of wrong doing. We see this is the story of the rich young ruler, and in Job. Job was convinced that he was righteous and became quite angry when it was suggested that he was not.

Read Proverbs 12:1; Proverbs 19:20; Proverbs 18:2 (a) What does Proverbs teach about those who refuse to be corrected because they are sure that their own way is correct? (b) What is the end result of listening to advice and accepting instruction? (c) What does a fool delight in?

B. Read Matthew 6:1-2, 5, 16; 7:1-5; John 8:3-9; II Corinthians 10:12

From these Scriptures list five attitudes that are examples of being self-righteous.

4. Read Job 27:6  What happens to our conscience when we are convinced that we are right? When we are in that frame of mind, we become stubborn in our resistance to the word of God and our hearts become hard and impenetrable. We cannot see our own sin, yet the sin of others is quite apparent and it is our job to point out this lack to them.

Therefore, another sign of self righteousness is seen when we look with contempt on others who are not as enlightened as we are. It may be that we are following the mandates set out by God in His holy word, but our self righteous attitude towards those who do not live up to our standards becomes evident when we correct others, when we judge them or complain about them to others. Any good we may have done is negated by our self-righteous attitude.

5. What would be a better way to react when we see sin in others? Read John 8:11

We who condemn are no better than the one we accuse. Jesus is the only One who did not have sin. He had the right to judge, yet He showed mercy. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but gave her some good advice. “Sin no more.”

6. When we are not humble but instead take great pride in being obedient we are guilty of self-righteousness. How should we practice righteousness? Read Matthew 6:1-6

This was a sin of the Pharisees. They took great pride in fasting and being obedient to the letter of the law. They wanted others to see them pray, give to the poor, or be present in the synagogue. They relished the praise of their neighbors and friends. When we make sure that others know we have daily devotions, give offerings to the poor, fast during Lent, we are guilty of self righteousness. In reality, our giving should be in secret and without any hope of a return. Our fasting should be without any outward sign that we are fasting. Jesus tells us to do our acts of kindness in secret, to pray in the closet where we cannot be seen of others. We are to give, pray, and live in a way that brings glory to God and not to ourselves

Is the focus of our conversation, thought life,prayer life, and giving concentrated on the pronouns “I,” “me,” “mine,” and “my.” Are we like Job, who said in Job 29:14 14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban?

He claims to have put on his own robe of righteousness. He is righteous in his own evaluation of self. We become complacent when we believe we are clothed in our own righteousness. We have no need to depend on God, to go to him for forgiveness because we are all ready righteous in our own sight. We are told to be aware of the needs of others and to take action. Because of our attitude however, we see no need to take action because we are already righteous and have no need to serve those less righteous that we are. When we do take action, our motives are not pure. Everything we do is colored by our need to be seen and praised by others.

Are we truly grateful to be part of God’s plan of salvation for us?

7. Read Job 35:7  what would be your answer to the question Elihu posed for Job? Are we grateful to be part of His family and church? Do we truly understand that God does not need us to carry out His plan of redemption? Or do we think that God cannot survive without our help. Do we think that we are doing a service for God? Are we constantly thinking about what we have given up to be in God’s service? When we truly understand that God does not need us, but we need Him, we can give God the glory for everything in our lives.

Do I feel compassion, empathy, for others? Do I feel their pain? When we have no compassion for another, we are quick to judge them, thinking that we would never act that way. I just don’t understand why they did that? We are sometimes so righteous in our own sight that we cannot understand the weakness of others.

Isaiah 65:1-5

The key verse here is 5. 1-4 is God’s statement about the sins of the Judeans. Verse 5 exposes the holier than thou attitude they had toward others.

8. Write verse 5. I have often thought how grateful I am that my eternal existence is in the hands of a merciful, compassionate God and not in the hands of my fellow man. I cannot see into the heart of another. I cannot see a repentant heart. I know that I am not who I was yesterday. Only God knows and understands what goes on in the darkest parts of our soul. Only God understands the root of our problems and He is the only one who can lead me to repentance with love and mercy. How true is the adage, I cannot understand another unless I have walked in his moccasins. His path is different from mine and his heart is a mystery to me. I have no right to judge for I am in the same boat.

9. Would I rather wallow in self pity than to ask God for forgiveness when I have sinned? Cain is a good example of this. Nowhere do we hear him ask for forgiveness, instead what his complaint is? Read Genesis 4:13

He showed no signs of changing or repentance. He did not feel sorry for his sin, for the pain he caused his parents, or for robbing Abel of his life. When he is punished his lament is self pity. His only sorrow is living with his punishment

10. Do I accept the fact that I have sinned or do I try to justify what I have done? Do I have a basket of excuses from which to draw? When we are self righteous, it is difficult to admit there is sin in our life. Job searched his own heart but could find no sin that could have caused the trials he was going through. Read Job 32:1-2 (a) why didElihu become angry with Job? Since he could find no sin in his own heart, he blamed God. He even wanted to present his case to decide who was right, him or God. Job 23; Job 40:8 ; Luke 16:15 (b) What did God ask Job? (c) What does God say about those who justify themselves before men?

11. Read Isaiah 46:12; What does this verse say about those who are far from the righteousness of God?

12. Read Isaiah 64:6; What does this verse say about our purity and righteousness?

13, Revelation 3:17-18 What is the counsel of God?

After reading the last group of Scriptures, answer the following question. Does a self righteous person see his sin for what it is? They cannot see the true character of their lives. Their motives in giving, praying, sacrificing, and good deeds are poisoned by their self-righteousness.

Is self-righteousness sometimes seen as righteousness? Read II Samuel 15:1-6; Absalom went to a great deal of trouble to present himself to the people as one who cared about them and one who would rule over them with justice. David was far wiser and had more understanding of the problems the people endured than Absalom. David had lived the life of the commoner while Absalom had been raised as the privileged son of King David. Absalom was motivated not by the problems of the people but by his own ambitions. He stole the hearts of the people by appearing to be righteous.

14. Read Matthew 23:25-28 When Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, what did He mean?

15. Read II Timothy 3:1-5 List the characteristics of people during the last days.

We can see this in our time. Many do seem to be Godly on the outside. They serve in the church, do good deeds, and they may even call themselves Christians, but in reality they do not give God the glory for anything. Their focus is on self.

God warned the Israelites about self-righteousness in Deuteronomy 9:4. He warns them not to take credit for dispossessing the inhabitants of the Promised Land. It was not the righteousness of the Israelites that prompted God to act, but because of the wickedness of those who lived there. The Bible has many stories that exemplify the folly of self-righteousness.

We read in Matthew 23:27-28 where Jesus says the Pharisees outwardly appeared righteous, but inside they were full of hypocrisy and sin. We see the same thought exemplified by Saul (I Samuel 15:13 ; the young man who asked what he must do to be saved(Matthew 19:20), the lawyer who tried to trip Jesus up with his questions(Luke 10:25,) The Israelites(Romans 10:3), and the church at Laodicea)(Revelation 3:17)

16. After having gone through this study, what conclusions do you reach about the righteousness of man? However there is hope!

17. Read Philippians 3:7-10. Where can we get righteousness?

Righteousness is available through faith in El Tsidkenu, the LORD our Righteousness, Jesus Christ. And that will be the subject of the next lesson.

6 Jehovah-tsidkenu, The LORD our Righteousness. Part One Man’s Need for Righteousness

6 Jehovah-tsidkenu, The LORD our Righteousness.  Part One Man’s need for Righteousness

Jehovah –Tsidkenu-Jehovah Our Righteousness    5 “Behold, the days are
coming,” declares the LORD, When I will raise up for David a righteous [a]Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in
the land. 6 “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell
securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our
righteousness.’  Jeremiah 23:5,6

When studying the declaration of Jeremiah that one was to be raised up who would reign as King, and bring justice and righteousness to the land, we need to understand the background.  Just what was going on and what had brought Jeremiah to this point.  Most of Jeremiah’s message was gloom and doom and hideous prophesies of exile and unrest.  Then in the midst of all the tears and sadness is this gleam of hope, like a dim star in the Netherlands of the galaxy.

Much had changed since Isaiah had prophesied.  Israel had descended along a desperate decline into idolatry and sin.  God would raise up a king who would be faithful and try to point the people in the right
direction.  As soon as that King was dead and gone, a new king would appear and the Bible would declare as their
biography, “he did evil in the sight of Jehovah.”  In time the slide into depravity and evil in God’s sight brought Israel to a time when God’s judgment on them was imminent.  Time after time He had come to their aid, and sent them prophets to warn them of the impending disaster that awaited them.

Israel was in desperate need.  They were spiritually bereft as their idol worship took them further from the blessings of the true God they had once worshipped.  Morally, the people took up the religious barbarism of their neighbors and lived only for themselves, engaging in horrible religious practices that led many of them to engage in immoral acts around the heathen altars. Political intrigue and maneuvering for power fostered unrest among the people. Even the priest, were worshipping abominations adopted from their heathen neighbors. As God removed His hedge of protection, other nations encroached on their land and their liberty.  The day of the Gentiles, the golden head of Babylon, stood ready in the future to begin the exile of the Israelites.

God’s love for them, the tears in His heart for them, prompted Him to raise up Josiah, a good king, who would try to banish idolatry from the heart of the people. Hilkiah found the lost Scriptures in the Temple as He obeyed the orders of Josiah to restore the temple and make it ready for worship of Jehovah.  Jeremiah was Hezekiah’s
son.  He was present as a mourner when King Josiah was buried and the tears in his eyes were for more than the death of this good man.  His tears would continue to fall as he witnessed Israel’s final fall into destruction.  His heart would endure a lifetime of winter as he listened to God’s words, related them to the people, and harvested their bitter rebuke of unbelief.  He knew he could not force their belief in his warnings. His harsh message broke his own heart. He was forced to watch as evil counselors resisted his words and precipitated the nation over the cliff.

But our great God never leaves us without hope.  He lets the sun break through the dark clouds.  He begins in chapter 23 by promising the religious rulers , the ones responsible for the law of the land being taught to the people, 1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD.  He promises that He will judge them.  Then He says, one day I will take over myself and I will gather those of my people who are left wherever they have been scattered.  I will bring them home and I will take care of them.  The one they have rejected will tenderly gather them and set shepherds over them.  J. Vernon McGee says, regarding this future time. “This refers specifically to the return of the Jews to their land after the present dispensation has closed and the church has been raptured.”

Then Jeremiah gives us the good news.  A kingdom will be established with a ruler like no other.  He will be so just and righteous in His dealings that He shall be called, Jehovah-tsidkenu, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

None of us can truly appreciate the righteousness of God, and until we understand just how far we are from the expectations of a Holy God, we cannot comprehend our need for His Gift.

  1.  What provokes the wrath of God?

Read
Romans 1:18 Ungodliness is everything that is against God.  In our world today, we see man trying to push
God out of every social institution and out of governmental authority.  To deny the existence of God, the authority
of God is sin and provokes the wrath of God. Unrighteousness is the action of unrighteous men.  Men deny the rule of God by their actions.  They cheat, embezzle, steal, murder, beat their wives, and cheat on their mates…you name it.  Unrighteousness, man’s inhumanity against man is prevalent in our society and provokes the wrath of God.

2.  Does man have an excuse for his behavior?

Read
Romans 1:19,20   .
Creation itself is proof of a sovereign God to which we are accountable.

3.  What was the response of man to the revelation of God in His creation?

Read
Romans 1:21-23

They had a knowledge of God, but they did not glorify Him, They did not give God His
rightful place in their lives, but became self sufficient to the point of creating
their own Gods from wood and metal using the creation itself as their inspiration.
It was not lack of knowledge that led them here.  It was not ignorance of God.  It was willful rebellion against His eternal power and deity.  And with this false worship came immorality and sinful practices which disgusted God and caused Him to give them up.  In other words, He gave them over to judgment because they refused to see the light that was given.
12
that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear,
and not understand; lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them Mark 4:12( for further understanding of this verse refer to Isaiah 6)  The Bible indicates in many places that
God does not forever strive with sinful man.  There comes a time when He must judge and He will harden their hearts so they can no longer understand spiritual things.
(They already are in that condition)

4.   List the unrighteousness which follows when man rebels against God.

Read
Romans 1:26-31

Paul is speaking of His own time. He is talking about what was happening in Greece, Egypt, Rome and other countries within his hemisphere of understanding.  But the human family has not changed.  This is prevalent in our own time…in our own United States.  We have revelation of God
about what is right and wrong, yet we disregard and even flaunt our immoral choices and encourage, even insist that others commit the same sins..  We defy the consequences promised by God.  We refuse to learn the lessons of nations who have received the judgment of God for their continued disregard of His sovereignty.

5.   What does Paul say is the judgment of God for those who commit these sins?

Read Romans 1:32  Can you relate news stories that point to groups trying to gain respectability for their sins by forcing the government to recognize them legally?

Can you think of organizations that are willing to accept immoral ideas within their group?  (Groups who were
diametrically opposed to such views a few years ago.)

Can you think of laws being passed that are in direct rebellion against the laws of God?

How long will God put up with America?  We have the truth.  We condemn ourselves.