And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.
As contrasted with Pauline sayings, the text is an illustration of the maxim, "On the outside of things look for differences, on the inside for likenesses" (Hare). The form is that of the Law, the spirit is that of Christ, whose gospel is the key to the Law's utterances.
I. A REQUIREMENT WHICH ONE ONLY, VIZ. CHRIST, HAS PERFECTLY FULFILLED. "This is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6). He "is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4). How? In the strictly legal, as in the strict ideal sense, righteousness requires an absolutely perfect fulfillment of every one of God's commandments. The Jewish covenant required no less. The Jews were to live in their righteousness, i.e. in perfect keeping of the whole Law. But in point of fact, no Jew ever rendered perfect obedience. In many things, like others, he offended, and the covenant footing was only maintained through daily pardon of daily offences. Christ is our Redeemer from the curse thus entailed by transgression (Galatians 3:13). As the Lord's righteous Servant, and Fulfiller of the Law, he has implemented the condition of acceptance in such a way that his obedience carries with it results to others as well as to himself (Romans 5:17-21). In him the believer is justified. He claims him as the Lord his Righteousness. Christ has for him at once fulfilled the Law's precept, and abolished its penalty. Sinful in himself, in Christ his sins are covered, and justification is obtained (Romans 3:22-27; Romans 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
II. A REQUIREMENT WHICH BELIEVERS IS CHRIST ARE ENABLED TO FULFILL, THOUGH IMPERFECTLY, YET ACCEPTABLY. The utmost that the Jew could render was that imperfect but sincere obedience which is still the mark of the true believer. The believer's duty is to render a perfect obedience; his privilege is that, falling short of this, his sincere though faulty obedience will be graciously accepted for the sake of Christ. In harmony with his calling, it was to be the Jew's aim to realize the righteousness which the Law set before him. But in his inability to do this the weakness of the Law revealed itself, and in contrast with this weakness (Romans 8:3) is the power of the gospel, enabling the believer to triumph, and to bring forth fruit unto holiness, the end of which is everlasting life (Romans 6:22). This also is a "righteousness of faith," as springing from faith, and rendered possible through it. It is his righteousness, yet in a deeper sense not his, but Christ's, for it is the work of Christ living in him (Galatians 2:20). It is not the ground of acceptance, but a result of it; not a title to heaven, but meetness for it. It is itself a gift of grace, part of Christ's salvation (Matthew 5:6; Ephesians 5:9, 10; Philippians 2:12, 13; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:7-10; with Romans 6., 7., 8.). - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.