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The Rev. Charlie Camlin: “The LORD Our Righteousness”

November 29, 2006

For a really good sermon for the Sunday Next Before Advent, I can commend The LORD Our Righteousness by the Rev. Charlie Camlin of Holy Trinity REC in Virginia. This sermon, based on Jeremiah 23:5-8, really fits what we call “Stir Up Sunday” and I think Fr. Camlin sets a good tone for the upcoming Advent season. Note what he writes about verse 6 of the referenced passage:

But notice also that Jesus Christ is pictured as the essence of righteousness by what his name would be called. In verse six the name by which he would be called is “the Lord our Righteousness.” The idea of the Messiah being a Branch coming forth from David points to his humanity; but the fact that he is called the Lord our Righteousness points to his deity. He is a descendent of David according to the flesh but he is also the eternal Son of God. Here the covenant name of God—Yahweh—is also His name. The same name given by God to Moses at the burning bush is his name. He is the great I AM.

This name the Lord our Righteousness is also essentially synonymous with the name Jesus. The name Jesus means “salvation of the Lord.” One of the meanings of this Hebrew word for “righteousness” happens to be salvation. Therefore his given name Jesus is essentially synonymous with the name promised here in Jeremiah. Because he is the Son of God he is of the essence of righteousness.

Secondly, this passage also points out to us that Jesus Christ became our righteousness. This comes through in verse six where he is called the Lord our Righteousness. This is the reason why the eternal Son of God—the essence of righteousness, became man. He became man in order that he might be the essence of righteousness as a human being. Since he was perfect righteousness as a human being, he is now able to impart that righteousness to other human beings. This is what St. Paul said in the first chapter of his epistle to the Corinthians: “We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” And then a few verses later: “But of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

Jesus Christ came to a place where no one was righteous, not even one, and lived a perfectly righteous life so that he might impart that righteousness to us. As St. Paul says in Romans three: “But now the righteousness of God, apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” The righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to all who believe in him.

And here we have the very reason for the Advent of our Lord, summed up in these paragraphs–but read the whole sermon for what Fr. Camlin has to say about our justification and our sanctification.

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