While listening to a song called “Watch Your Words” by Alter Bridge the lyrics reminded me of a passage in Romans chapter 1. In particular, verses 16 and 17. The apostle Paul writes about the Gospel and how it reveals the righteousness of God.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
What is meant by “the righteousness of God” here in this passage. Is Paul writing about the the very nature of God? For He alone is righteous. Is he writing about the righteousness expressed in His promises kept? This very term is mentioned many times throughout scripture in reference to God. But how is it used here in this particular passage in Romans 1? I went to a “new to me” bible exposition to look up how it is used here. The bible exposition is from the Puritan John Gill. In it the use of “the righteousness of God” is made clear to me. Here is what I found:
By “the righteousness of God”, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called “the righteousness of God”, in opposition to the righteousness of men: and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect:
So what is found in the Gospel that Paul writes about here? The Gospel reveals the very righteousness of God that justifies men in the sight of God through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Son is the author through His obedience and death, and this righteousness is revealed through God the Spirit to men.
So when it is written that “the righteous man shall live by faith”, that faith has been given by God which reveals the “righteousness of God” through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For just as John Gills writes above “this is in opposition to the righteousness of men” which does not save. Romans 1 is an excellent chapter to read about the Gospel of Christ and how it relates to sinful man. Please take time to read it again.
Below are the lyrics that prompted me to think about this subject and post this:
To truly see well
You must have faith
Oh the righteous they can’t wait
A saving grace
That we all know
Let us pray
Let us hold on
Finally and as a side bar. For those who live here in Nebraska, Alter Bridge is coming to Lincoln December 8th at the State Theater. My wife and I have tickets. We will probably stick out in the crowd. We will be the middle-aged head bangers. Maybe we’ll will see you there. Rock On!!