Matthew 1. 18-25
Joseph was a righteous man according to verse 19 of this text, meaning that he kept the Torah, the books of Moses, that he was obedient to that Law. He had just heard that his future wife, Mary, the one he was betrothed to was pregnant. The Law gave him the right to break the engagement to Mary of Bethlehem, and/ or have her stoned as an adulterous woman, or confess that he and she had engaged in fornication and marry her. Seeing that he and she had not violated the Law in fornication, and seeing that he had no stomach for stoning, others might call for this action but not at his desire. He chose to simply divorce her, the equivalent of breaking their engagement. This is in keeping with the Law of Moses, by Joseph the righteous man.
Now an angel of the Most High arrived on the scene in a dream to Joseph. He is told by the angel that what was conceived in Mary had been accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Mary is still a virgin, yet she is pregnant. And you, Joseph, will call the child’s name Yeshua, that being translated is, Yahweh’s salvation.
Joseph now has a choice to make, obey the Law of Moses, by which he maintains his righteousness, or follow the instructions of the angel in the dream. The dream must have been very vivid, very real, very convincing because Joseph decides to obey the words of the angel, and trust God beyond the commands of the Law. A New Covenant is about to be ushered onto the scene, where the Holy Spirit will lead men into righteousness beyond the commands of the Law, as prophesied by Jeremiah 31.31. “Behold, days are coming declares the LORD, when I will effect a new covenant with the House of David and the House of Judah,…I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts, and I will be their God and they will be my people.”
Joseph did act in faith, and took Mary as his wife keeping her a virgin until she gave birth to a son, and he did name the child Yeshua.
Joseph was righteous, by faith, according to the standards of Hebrews 11.1-2. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. For by it men of old gained approval.”
Yeshua is the savior of mankind, He was born of a virgin, He did come to save His people from their sin, He did suffer and die on a cross, and He did rise again on the third day, He is sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on High ever interceding for us, and He will come again to redeem us for eternity. When we put our complete faith in Him, we like Joseph will be justified by the same faith that he showed. For his righteousness came by faith, not by the works of the Law.