Oaks of Righteouness
We who believe in Jesus Christ are the righteousness of God. That is what Scripture proclaims. Do we believe it? In Isaiah, it says we will "be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." (Isaiah 61:3) Is that how most Christians live their lives? Do we walk in the knowledge of that truth? I doubt it. If we did, the church would not be the feeble thing it has become in the western world, unable to effect change in the culture despite growing influence in other ways.
It's true that some may twist the words of Scripture and use it for personal elevation, but that's contrary to the word of God. II Corinthinians 5:21 should dispel any foolish boasting of that sort: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. It took the astonishing sacrifice of the Son of God who deserved no punishment to make us the righteousness of God. Our standing as righteous came as a gift, so that none may boast.
Yet, we often do not feel righteous. Whether we feel righteous or not, though, is inconsequential. Righteousness is an attribute of the regenerated heart; it exists in the inner man. To push that away simply because we don't feel righteous based on our actions, words, and how we might see ourselves, we make a mockery of God's gracious gift. It is a part of who we are and we should seize it and know that we are not of little importance, not defeated or broken, but the very righteousness of God for the display of His splendor.
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