Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper…
In that day, when we all shall stand before God, there will be a great multitude whom no man can number, perfectly spotless even in His searching sight. He who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, will look on them without offence. Nay, more than this: He will delight in them. These very men came from the world where we live — out of sin and imperfection — out of disease and decay — out of doubts and fears — out of murmurings and backslidings, and a thousand infirmities and errors. And whence came this change? Where nothing approaches that is not perfectly holy, how entered this uncounted multitude of sinners? First, I think we shall be able to make it manifest that such a change cannot come from a man's self. We all can do much for ourselves in the way of self-government. But will any one be bold enough to say that self-government will make a man perfectly holy in God's sight? Everything human is imperfect; and no imperfect thing will suit our present purpose. We must have a perfect principle of righteousness, a perfect fount of holiness, something into the image of which the saints may be changed, each in his measure and degree, but all without spot or flaw of any kind. I answer that I cannot believe death to bring with it any such radical and total change. On what is the change at death dependent, in the case of God's saints? Why, entirely on the reality, and on the amount of progress, of that other change of which we are speaking. According as they are holy here below, so will that change be glorious. Again, what sort of a change is it that death brings about? Not a change of heart — not a change of desires, affections, principles — but merely, great as it is, a change of circumstances. The righteousness of the saints remains after death what it was before, with this difference, that every circumstance which before hindered its development will then be removed, and all will be replaced by circumstances the most favourable possible. Sin and imperfection will have been left behind in the grave; perfection and spotlessness put on in the resurrection. But the spiritual life goes on throughout, before and after death, one and the same in principle, in nature, in acceptability with God. Mankind is a tree tainted at the root. It is not that there are not fair branches — goodly leaves — bright blossoms — vitality and sap in abundance: — but that a taint lies at the root and infects all, so that it brings forth no fruit fit for the Master's use. What power can heal this tree? Manifestly, no power from without. All the suns, showers, and dews of heaven will never eradicate that taint from its root. The only conceivable way would be, if by some wonderful process its vital sap could be renewed; if some better and healthier influence could enter into its very root and core, and permeate all its branches with wholesome and fruit-bearing vigour. Such was the state of our humanity. Our race laboured under two disabilities before God: guilt, and powerlessness for good. He that created first, must create anew. By the same power, which made the first man a living soul, must the second Adam become a life-giving spirit. And all this within the limits of our race, — that the God whom man had offended, man might satisfy; that as by the disobedience of one man all were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man might all he made righteous. And this mighty thing was undertaken and achieved by the eternal Son of God Himself. He became man: not an individual human person, bounded by His own responsibilities, accountable to God for Himself and Himself only, which would have done us no good, whatever were the result of His Incarnation: but He took our nature upon Him — our nature entire: as entire as it was in Adam: He entered into its very root and core, and became its second Head. Now mark — He did not take that nature in its sinful development, as it then was, and now is, in each member of the human family; this would have been against His very essence and attributes as God, and was unnecessary for His work, nay, would have nullified that work: but He did take it subject to all the consequences of the state in which He found it — to temptation, — to infirmity, — to bodily appetites, — to decay, — to death. In our nature, He wrought out a perfect righteousness: and He presented Himself before the Father at the end of His course on earth, as the holy and righteous Head of our race, claiming of right, and by the terms of the everlasting covenant, that gift of the Holy Spirit, due by His merits, and become possible by His perfect human righteousness now united to the Godhead. So, then, the Lord Jesus becomes the Justifier of our race, — i.e., our clearer from guilt: and the Sanctifier of our race, — i.e., the giver of the Holy Spirit from the Father, by whom we become holy and changed into the image of God. Now, let us contemplate the effect on those who believe. Entering into Christ's finished work, they know Him as "Jehovah their Righteousness." In themselves, they are as others. They carry about with them the remnants of a body of sin, and are in conflict with it as long as they are here below. But sin has no dominion over them, nor shall it condemn them in that day. They are accepted in the Beloved. Christ's righteousness is their righteousness, because they are living members of Him the righteous Head, and are regarded by the Father as in Him with whom He is well pleased. Do you call Christ, Jehovah your Righteousness? What, then, is your estimate of your own duties, and your performance of them?
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.