Christ Is Our Righteousness (Psalm 1:3-4)
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. —Psalm 1:3-4
In the series “Psalms: Thinking and Feeling with God,” John Piper explains one way to see Jesus in Psalm 1 —
How does [Psalm 1] lead us to Christ? Of the three ways (at least) that I see this Psalm leading to Christ, I will only mention one.
The word righteous in verse 6 presses us forward to Christ as our righteousness. “The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” So only the righteous will survive the judgment in the end. But who is righteous? Psalm 14:3: “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” Psalm 130:3–4: “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? [Answer: None.] But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” Psalm 32:2: “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity.”
So “the righteous” are the sinful who can somehow be counted as righteous when they are not righteous in themselves. How can this be? How can a holy and righteous God “not mark iniquity”? How can a holy and righteous God not count sin? How can he not require perfect righteousness for his perfect heaven?
The answer is that God does mark iniquity, and he does count sin, and he does require perfect righteousness. And that is why this psalm, with all of Psalms, leads to Christ who “was wounded for our transgressions; [and] crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). God did count our sin, and he punished it in Christ. He did require righteousness, and he performed it in Christ. Romans 10:3: “The goal of the law [the goal of the Psalms] is Christ for righteousness for all who believe.”
This gospel truth is part of the living water that flows into the roots of our lives. This is part of what we meditate on day and night when we read and sing the Psalms. This is the source of our sweetest delight.
See the whole sermon, “Songs That Shape the Heart and Mind.”