“To us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). This promise was fulfilled when Mary gave birth to Jesus, fully God and fully man. He came and conquered sin and death, and we look for Him to come again. When He does, He will fulfill the rest of Isaiah’s promise: “The government shall be upon his shoulder… [He will] uphold [His kingdom] with justice and righteous from this time forth and forevermore” (Isaiah 9:6–7). Lest we wonder if Christ will really come again to do just this, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:7).
Jeremiah promised this coming King and kingdom as well: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:5–6).
Both of these passages speak of Christ’s coming rule as righteous. In fact, Jeremiah prophesies that our coming King is “a righteous Branch,” “He… shall execute… righteousness,” and His name is “The Lord is our righteousness.” Righteousness is His description, action, and name. Righteousness pervades, and so much so that Jeremiah repeats these verses in Jeremiah 33:15–16.
Though the righteousness of Jesus will be on display throughout His kingdom, we have seen His righteousness already. Speaking of Adam’s sin and the perfect obedience of Christ, Paul compares the two and their results: “As one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” (Romans 5:18). Jesus lived a perfectly righteous live. In doing so, He fulfilled the Law of Moses for us: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). This righteousness is His and not our own and given to us through faith—we hope to “be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9). “For our sake He [the Father] made Him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Son of God became human for a purpose—to provide forgiveness from sins by dying on the cross and to provide a righteousness from His perfect life that we as sinners could never merit for ourselves. This righteousness is ours by faith and ours forevermore. May we trust in Him for that righteousness now, and may God give us hope to see His righteous Son one day when righteousness reigns throughout the world.