In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6 NIV).
This is a clear reference to Jesus Christ. He will be called Our Righteousness.
But what does righteousness mean? It is not easy to explain. In very simple terms, it represents someone’s ability to stand before God. Since God is holy and we are sinful it is impossible for you and me to stand before God. So there is a separation.
But this prophecy tells that when this “righteous branch,” the king of Israel shall come, He will become Our Righteousness. That means in Him will be found our ability to stand before God. It means that He will stand on our behalf before God and He will represent us before God. This is fulfilled in Jesus.
But then from the beginning of time sinful man had tried to appear before God with a righteousness of his own. Adam and Eve’s attempt to cover their nakedness using fig leaves and appear before God was the first of such attempts. But then God Himself clothed them with garments of skin.
He thus taught them that by their methods they cannot stand before Him. The sacrifice of innocent blood alone could give them a covering to protect them and enable them to stand before God.
The blood of Jesus thus covers us and removes our sin when we trust in His dying for you and me on the cross. He died to take away your punishment.
When you trust in that fact God clothes you with His own righteousness so that you will not die, but live. This is another important meaning of the name, “The Lord Our Righteousness.” In Jesus it is fulfilled.
Finally, man has always tried to stand before God by the righteous acts he performed. People made sacrifices. They gave alms, helped the poor and the needy, and went for pilgrimage and so on. But these are not enough to enable us to stand before God.
Our sin is so horrible and offensive to God. These acts, though most of them good, cannot bridge the gap between you and God. That is why God through Prophet Isaiah said: “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
So, do not trust in your good deeds and go to hell. But trust in Jesus and His precious blood. That is your righteousness. It will alone enable you to stand before a Holy God.