Archive for June 12th, 2019

Romans 1:17-19

In Romans 1:17-19 Paul tells us simply that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God. This revelation of God’s righteousness comes to those with faith, fulfilling Habakkuk 2:4: The just – that is, the justified ones – shall live by faith. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” William Barclay explains the meaning of this ancient Greek word dikaioo, which means I justify, and is the root of dikaioun (righteousness): “All verbs in Greek which end in oo… always mean to treat, or account or reckon a person as something.

If God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that he finds reasons to prove that he was right – far from it. It does not even mean, at this point, that he makes the sinner a good man. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all.” That is the kind of love God has for us as sinners. When we are made righteous, He no longer sees any of our past sin! The righteousness of God revealed by the gospel does not speak of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ. How amazing is His love!

There is an opposite situation in the world around us. God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against the human race, and the human race deserves the wrath of God. We are not worthy of righteousness or salvation from our sin at all. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” We sometimes object to the idea of the wrath of God because we equate it with human anger, which is motivated by selfish personal reasons or by a desire for revenge. We must not forget that the wrath of God is completely righteous in character. God is righteous and just and holy and we are held to those standards and fall short.

Paul’s goal here is not to proclaim the good news, but to demonstrate the absolute necessity of the good news of salvation from God’s righteous wrath. Without God’s righteousness, we are doomed to eternal separation. And the argument that some don’t know or understand doesn’t stand up when measured against scripture. “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” The problem is not that man does not know God, but that he did know Him – yet refused to glorify Him as God. Therefore, mankind is without excuse.  We must understand God because that is the standard we will be held to. His Scripture tells us that story.

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