(Article for publication week of 3-28-2012 AD)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’ “ (Romans 1:16-17).
These two verses are the inspired apostle Paul’s introduction to the book of Romans. The great theme introduced here is “the righteousness of God.” The gospel of Jesus Christ reveals to us the righteousness of God that is imputed to every one who believes. This phrase, “the righteousness of God”, is repeated several times in the epistle to the Romans, and is fundamental to our understanding of the gospel of Christ. The gospel is the good news of how a guilty sinner, with no righteousness of his own, has a righteous standing with God.
Righteousness is what God requires of His rational creatures. God requires a perfect righteousness for admission into His holy presence. Only those with “clean hands”, that is a righteous record shall be allowed to abide with Him in His tabernacle (Psalm 24:3-4). God’s requirement is that you must be as righteous as He is! Do I have your attention? Well, I hope so, and if you will keep reading I shall tell you the good news of the justifying righteousness of Christ.
Every one who believes in Christ for his whole and sole righteousness stands justified before God. These are “the just” of our text. The believer is just before God. He has the very “righteousness of God.” God counts the believer as righteous as Himself!” The believer in Christ has no righteousness of His own, but He has something infinitely better- the righteousness of Christ!
The book of Romans is the most theological of all the books in the Bible. This glorious inspired Book unfolds for us this theme of the righteousness of God. Martin Luther said that when he understood what the book of Romans meant by “the righteousness of God”, that is the righteousness that is imputed to the believer’s account, that is the righteousness worked out by Christ, why he said his heart was filled with such joy that it was as if the gates of heaven opened, “and I stepped in.” And so it is to every child of God that believes in Christ for salvation, and understands that God sees him not in his sins, but in Christ who is our whole and sole righteousness.
I am getting excited about this series of articles! Lord willing, we will be opening up all the precious details of this righteousness of God for the next few months.
For your information, I have been preaching through the Book of Romans for about six years now. We have come to chapter 12, verse 13. The whole series of sermons so far, including this week’s text, can be heard at Sermonaudio.com if you are interested.
Now I leave you with the gospel word. All who trust in Christ Alone for their righteous standing before God are just, and shall live by faith.