Some things just go together. Where you find one, you expect to find the other. For example, peanut butter and jam. And you can probably fill in the blanks on some others: hammer and ____; needle and _____; knife and _____; shoes and ____; nuts and _____. You get the idea. Where there’s salt, you’re gotta find pepper.
After reading in Isaiah this morning, I want to suggest there’s another pairing that should be added to the list.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, . . . For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
(Isaiah 61:10a-11 ESV)
Righteousness and praise. Don’t know how you find one without the other.
Isaiah looks to a future day when Israel’s Messiah reigns. A day marked not only by national revival but a world-wide acknowledgment of their God and they as His people. A day foreshadowed by our current age of grace. This time period in which the Lord’s anointed, Jesus, has come to bring good news to the poor, offering liberty to those captive to sin’s bondage, proclaiming the time of the LORD’s favor (Isa. 61:1-3).
And the harvest reaped through the sowing of the seeds of the LORD’s favor? A people clothed with garments of salvation and covered with robes of righteousness. A righteousness acquired not through man’s best efforts at being holy, but by faith. Not some tier-2 righteousness that you might expect from mortal men and women, but perfect righteousness, the righteousness of God, imputed to all who believe through God’s own Son.
And where such righteousness is found, I’m suggesting that Isaiah’s suggesting, you’re gonna find praise as well.
. . . that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
(Isaiah 61:3b ESV)
A people clothed in the spotless beauty of Another. On display before heavenly realms as a majestic forest of righteousness. Planted by Another. Raised up in holiness for His glory. Their righteousness evoking His praise.
When those rescued from bondage grasp the fullness of their redemption, when they comprehend something of the degree of their declared righteousness, there can only be the unquenchable urge to worship.
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up
Songless saints reveal something is amiss. They may not have been taught of the garments they have been freely given through Christ’s finished work–their sins not only forgiven, but His righteousness credited to their account. Or, they may find it hard to believe that such garments are really for them as they hear the accuser’s voice trying to convince them that their sin is really beyond the full gospel and such an all-encompassing salvation. Or, their lack of desire to offer sacrifices of praise, the fruit of their lips, might be reflective of the fact that they really stand in their own righteousness–somehow believing they have merited His unmerited favor.
But some things just gotta go together. Peanut butter and jam. Hammer and nails. Needle and thread. Knife and fork. Shoes and socks. Nuts and bolts.
Righteousness and praise.
Because of His grace. Only for His glory.