April 1—Morning Devotion
“And this is his name whereby he shall be called-THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”—Jeremiah 23:6
Begin this month, my soul, with contemplating thy Jesus in this glorious distinction of character; and beg of God the Holy Ghost, who hath here declared that, under this character, Jesus shall be known and called, that every day through the month, and through the whole of life, thou mayest find grace and strength so to know and so to call Jesus, as to be everlastingly satisfied that thou art made the righteousness of God in him. And first, my soul, consider who and what this Holy One is. He is the Lord Jehovah. In the glories of his essence, he is One with the Father. In his Personal glories, he is the Lord thy Mediator. And in his relative glories, he is thy righteousness. For, by virtue, of his taking thy nature, what he is as Mediator and as the Surety of his people, he is for them. Pause over this blessed view, and then say, what can be more blessed than thus to behold Jesus as what he is in himself for his people. Look at him again, my soul, and take another view of him in his loveliness; in what he is to his people. This precious scripture saith, that he is the Lord our righteousness; that is, by virtue of his Godhead he is our righteousness, in such a sure way, and with such everlasting value and efficacy, as no creature could be. The righteousness his redeemed possess in him, and have a right in him, and are entitled to in him, is the righteousness of God; and therefore impossible ever to be lost, and impossible ever to be fully recompensed in glory. Sweet and blessed consideration! it seems too great to be believed. And so it would indeed, if the authority of Jehovah had not stamped it, and made the belief of it the first and highest act of a poor sinner’s obedience. And observe, my soul, yet further, there is this blessed addition to the account “he shall be called so.” By whom? Nay by every one that knows him. The poor sinner shall call him so, who is led to see and feel that he hath no righteousness of his own; he shall call Jesus his Lord, his righteousness. He shall call him so to others; he shall call upon him for himself: he shall be that true Israelite, that very one whom the prophet describes – “Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” The redeemed upon earth, the redeemed in heaven, the church of the first-born, shall call him so. The whole army of patriarchs and prophets, and apostles, all shall know Jesus as the Lord our righteousness. Nay, God himself, our Father, shall call his dear Son by this glorious name; for it is He who hath constituted and appointed him as the Lord our righter ousness. And that Jesus is our righteousness is from this very cause, “that he is made of God to us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord.” Now, my soul, what sayest thou to this sweet view of Jesus in this most precious scripture? Is not this name of Jesus most grateful to thee, as ointment of the richest fragrancy poured forth? Can any name be as sweet and delightful to one convinced, as thou art, that all thy righteousness is as dung and dross, as that of Jesus the Lord our righteousness? Witness for me, ye angels of light, that I renounce every other; and from hence, forth will make mention of his righteousness, and his only. Yes, blessed Jesus, my mouth shall daily speak of thy righteousness and salvation; for I know no end thereof.
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."