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The Daily Word of Righteousness
For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. (Isaiah 62:1,2)
It is not true that the term "righteousness" in the above passage is referring to a legally ascribed righteousness, as some have maintained. This is not true and it strengthens the modern error that the Divine salvation is a legal state and not an actual transformation. It is not possible for the righteousness and justice of Jerusalem to be revealed to the nations if such righteousness and justice exist only in the mind of God.
The "light" of the Christian is the "good works" that he performs (Matthew 5:16).
How can an "imputed" or "ascribed" righteousness "go forth as brightness"? Only true righteousness, true justice, righteous deeds, can go forth as brightness.
The usage of the terms "imputed" and "ascribed" imply there is no righteousness, no justice in Jerusalem except that which God ascribes to it by "grace." If there were true righteousness or justice being practiced in Jerusalem there would be no need for the Lord to impute such merit.
It is true that no behavior is righteous unless the Lord considers it to be righteous. However, the impression left in the mind of the reader of today is that the behavior of the Christians is relatively unimportant. It is the contemporary misapplication of Paul's argument against the Judaizers concerning the legal "state of grace" that the believers of today use as the basis for justifying the lack of change in their personalities.
Consider the following: one moment the nations of the earth see every form of sin and self-seeking in Jerusalem. The next moment the nations behold righteousness and justice, not because the behavior of the elect has changed but because the Lord has "imputed" and "ascribed" righteousness and justice to Jerusalem. Can we regard such a position as anything more than an attempt to justify and sanctify ungodly behavior?.
So it is today. The Christian churches, because of the overemphasis on "grace" and "imputed (ascribed) righteousness," practice every form of sin and self-will. According to the Christian teachers, such churches are to have no concern because God has imputed Christ's perfection to them. What are the nations to behold, the behavior of the Christians or the "perfection" God has "imputed" to them?
In your opinion, which does the world behold in the churches: the behavior of the people or the righteousness God has ascribed to them?
To interpret Isaiah 62:1,2 to mean the righteousness and justice God is seeking in Jerusalem will come by assigned righteousness and not by the cleansing and transforming of God's elect is far removed from the intentions of the Spirit of Christ in Isaiah.
To be continued.