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But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed— namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Throughout the Old Testament, God was made known primarily through the "law of righteousness". Yet now, God has been made known apart from that law, and that comes freely by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The NKJV and KJV says, "being witnessed by the law and the prophets". The law that is insufficient by itself to save testifies about Jesus, the Messiah, who is sufficient and has offered salvation to all. It is His righteousness that qualifies us to be in relationship with God; and that is reckoned to us by grace through faith in Him.
O Lord, your instructions endure; they stand secure in heaven. You demonstrate your faithfulness to all generations. You established the earth and it stood firm.
God has had lots of practice at being faithful, and He has never fallen short. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit exist in constant relationship with one another. God is worthy, and in His grace and mercy has even proven Himself worthy to us across generations because it is His great delight to reveal Himself to us. Through the seal of the Holy Spirit, we have been grafted into this love relationship and become evidence of God's faithfulness; witnesses to testify to His goodness.
There is no other God like you! You forgive sin and pardon the rebellion of those who remain among your people. You do not remain angry forever, but delight in showing loyal love.
Lord, we praise you. Your offer of forgiveness extends to even the most wandering soul, and your justified anger relents because of your great mercy. Thank you Jesus for meeting us all where we are. You are the loving usher of our souls, and eternal life is only found in You. May the knowledge and experience of your majesty purify our hearts, and press the gospel from our lips. As a child holds fast to their parent, so we cling to you, Oh God. You are everything, the source of our very breath. Let Your love flood through us, changing and saving lives. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High. For you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s tender mercy the dawn will break upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Here we have the second part of Zechariah's prophecy. The first part of the prophecy was all about the coming Messiah, Jesus. This part is all about Zechariah's son John, who will prepare the hearts of Israel for the coming of Christ. Everything Zechariah prophesies reflects what Gabriel had foretold to him initially. These are also the powerful words of a father (both God and Zechariah via the Holy Spirit) being spoken into a son's life. I venture that this experience was quite beautiful for Zechariah, being used by God to speak truth about his son John, and God's Son Jesus.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he has come to help and has redeemed his people. For he has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from long ago, that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us. He has done this to show mercy to our ancestors, and to remember his holy covenant— the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham. This oath grants that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, may serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him for as long as we live.
John the Baptist has just been born and Zechariah confirms the baby's name by writing "His name is John" on a tablet. Zechariah was silenced by the angel Gabriel from the announcement of John's birth until right now, when God chooses to fill Zechariah with the Holy Spirit to prophesy about Christ's coming. Through this time of silence, God has prepared a powerful purpose for Zechariah's returned voice. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose". (Romans 8:28 NIV)