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Paul‟s letter to the Romans is a wonderful encouraging message for many believers; in it are the foundations of the Christian faith. The book of Romans reveals the answers to important questions and supplies information on many topics, such as salvation, judgment, spiritual growth and the righteousness of God. The issue of the “righteousness of God” is common throughout the book of Romans. In fact, it is threaded through every section of the basic outline of this epistle.
1. The gospel as the power of God revealing His righteousness (1:1-17) 2. The judgment of God as a consequence of His righteousness (1:18-3:20) 3. God‟s righteousness as provided through Jesus Christ (3:21-4:25) 4. God‟s righteousness bringing hope and victory (5:1-8:39) 5. The righteousness of God available to everyone (9:1-11:36) 6. The transforming power of the righteousness of God (12:1-15:13) 7. God‟s righteousness expressed in the individuals and churches related with Paul‟s ministry (15:14-16:27)
Throughout history Romans has impacted and influenced the live of individuals as they came to understand God‟s righteousness as it is laced throughout the entirety of this letter. A few examples include John Wesley, theologian and founder of the Methodist movement. Also, the great German theologian Martin Luther and St. Augustine of Hippo whose life was transformed when he read Romans chapter 13, “Porphyry‟s method failed to rid Augustine of desire for worldly honor or for sexual gratification. But reading Romans 13:14 brought Christ as a moral authority to give him a “new will.” In a sudden moral conversion he abandoned his teaching position and all desire for an advantageous marriage.
Augustine withdrew with some close friends, relatives, and his mother, to a friend‟s villa at Cassiciacum to pursue truth.1”
Paul‟s epistle to the Romans has transformed the lives of many but it has also helped transform, or maybe a better term would be “reform” the world, speaking of the Reformation period (1517 A.D.). Martin Luther‟s reading of Romans in light of God‟s righteousness helped to launch the Protestant Reformation. As it has in the past, the righteousness of God that is revealed in Romans continues to change lives still today because “it is the power of God for salvation (1:16)”. Paul wrote the letter to the Romans in approximately 57 A.D. during his third missionary journey; probably while in the city of Corinth. His audience is the Christians at Rome who consist of Gentile believers and also many Jewish believers. One of the unique things about this Epistle is that Paul did not plant the church in Rome nor had he ever yet visited there. It was likely that the Christians in Rome were familiar with Paul however; in this letter Paul is introducing himself. He was writing to the church in Rome to address two people groups (Gentiles and Jews) and addressing the problem that was occurring between the two sides of believers. When Paul talks about the message of salvation, and the righteousness of God, he does it in a way that relates and speaks to both of these very different peoples. The phrase “Righteousness of God” (dikaiosyne theou) appears 8 times in the book of Romans (1:17; 3:5, 21, 22, 25, 26, 10:3a, 10:3b). It is necessary to pin down the likely meaning of the phrase that the Apostle Paul intended. Moo explains that Paul‟s meaning of “God‟s Righteousness” dikaiosyne theou means that God is placing people in a right standing as a fulfillment of His promises made in the Old Testament prophecies through the ones faith,
Douglas, J. D., Comfort, P. W., & Mitchell, D. Who's who in Christian history. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1997
where he claims “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. “Paul‟s call to minister to Gentiles is well known. 16).” as Paul uses it here. While Jews never were excluded from Paul‟s apostolic sphere of service.“The gospel brings salvation to people because it reveals God‟s promised way of putting people into right relationship with himself. In 1:1-17. it was “promised beforehand through His prophets” (vs. Paul explains that God had set him apart “even from my mother‟s womb” (vs. 15) so that he could preach this gospel “among the Gentiles” (vs. implies God‟s faithfulness to his promises. This is reminding of how Paul declared the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Douglas J. God chose him to be the “point man” in bringing the good news of Christ to the Gentiles. He then explains that he is an Apostle “set apart for the Gospel” (vs. “God‟s righteousness. that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”. Douglas J. and Isaiah. Paul claims that the gospel concerns “His Son” who descends from King David and that He is declared the Son of God as a result of the resurrection from the dead. 3).. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 43 . 2). Encountering The Book Of Romans. especially passages from Genesis. and that it is “concerning His Son” (vs. Paul begins first by mentioning his apostleship which can be found in many other passages including Galatians 1:11-24. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Paul also reminded the 2 3 Moo. In the first five verses of this first chapter he begins by writing his introduction which is common in all his epistles. Here. and it culminates in the status of “being in the right when it is met with faith”2. Paul writes that the gospel was “promised beforehand through His prophets”. Encountering The Book Of Romans. Lastly. 1). 2002. the book of Psalm. in Galatians. Moo illustrates the importance of Paul in his ministry to the Gentiles. He does this to secure and to establish the authenticity of the gospel.. 2002. 47 Moo. the subject of Paul‟s discussion is The gospel as the power of God revealing His righteousness. that he was buried. He verifies this point by using a large amount of Old Testament passages throughout the entire letter.3” Next.
These are not empty words in Paul‟s case since he had already endured much suffering (2 Cor. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. This theme is explicit and sharp in these next two verses. Paul states that he is “not ashamed of the gospel” this is to be understood in the context of suffering. therefore. 1:16. 1998. Paul writes what many recognize to be the overall theme of the book of Romans The Gospel and the Righteousness of God4. 1996 6 Schreiner. Douglas J. 44 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Encountering The Book Of Romans. 11:23-27). For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed. “The asseveration that Paul is not ashamed in Rom. As an Apostle. he was not ashamed. then for the Gentile. “I am not ashamed of the gospel. because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew. a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. 2002..) (Ro 1:16–17). Paul‟s purpose was to deliver and make known this power to the lost and unevangelized peoples. (electronic ed. 60. The Greek word used here for “power” is dynamis.6” Paul counted the cost and knew the consequences for preaching the gospel. .church at Corinth that this is. just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith”5. the gospel (1 Cor. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Paul mentions that he is “eager” to preach this gospel to those in Rome.3). Schreiner writes. Romans. Thomas R. but as he affirmed. in fact. In verses 16-17. The importance of the message again is reminding of 1 Corinthians 15 and Paul‟s eagerness. the word 4 5 Moo. 15:1) and that this message is of first importance to him as an Apostle (vs. He continued to preach it unashamedly because “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”. In verse 15. refers both to his willingness to confess the gospel in public and the overcoming of fear.
He quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to reinforce the importance of faith." He means not another and better form of moral excellence. God will not tolerate the sin of man. Paul said “faith comes by hearing” (10:17). 22 no. The theme of this section is The judgment of God as a consequence of His righteousness. of forgiveness”7. At the end 7 Ropes. It doesn‟t remove the sinful nature from man but this righteousness from God is a gift imputed to the believer to be in the “right standing”. This constitutes salvation. together with new powers of right conduct and Christlike character. ""Righteousness" and "The Righteousness of God" in the Old Testament and in St. The gospel makes God‟s righteousness.” The author wants the audience to understand that this has been God‟s plans from the beginning. “to those who believe is granted forgiveness. The gospel concerning the Son reveals the “righteousness of God”. Verse 18 states that “the wrath of God is revealed” against everyone. knowable and available. it is because the “righteousness of God is revealed…by faith”. Ropes agreed that the believer is still a sinner but forgiven on account of acquittal. This word helps us to grasp the fullness of the intended meaning and the incredible power of the gospel message." To this state into which such faith introduces man Paul applies the term "righteousness." Journal of Biblical Literature Vol.we use in English for “dynamite”. It is this righteousness that Paul says “is by faith from first to last”. James. Paul makes sure to explain through this letter that this righteousness was promised in the Old Testament. that is. Paul. . Because God‟s righteousness is perfect there must be a consequence for disobedience to his will. “The righteous will live by faith. It is provided by God and places repentant believers in a “right standing”. Paul explains why it is so powerful and prevailing in verse 17. This is the first time the phrase dikaiosyne theou is used in Romans. but a state of acquittal without moral excellence. The next section of the outline (1:18-3:20) also teaches the “righteousness of God”. God‟s righteousness is available to unrighteous believers through faith. 2 (1903): 224.
God is the standard of what 8 9 Wiersbe. 365 Henry. Wheaton. and they therefore do not retain God in their knowledge because it thwarts and contradicts their lusts. “what may be known about God is plain to them” (vs. Depart (Job 21:14). Since they do not want to consider God and his righteousness. 26. 28). 24. “they knew God. 1996. to do what ought not to be done” (vs. Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament. they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (vs. Wiersbe points out.of chapter 1. The sins listed here are too vile to define or discuss.8” Three times in this section Paul writes that “God gave them up” (vv. (Ro 1:19-32). Matthew. W. 1997. Henry explains. God essentially gives man what he desires. 23). He gave them over to “to shameful lusts” (vs. Therefore because of God‟s perfect righteousness He “gave them over”. 28). they do not like it”9. Peabody: Hendrickson. Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume. . yet they are practiced today around the world with the approval of society. they are given over to their way of thinking. Paul is likely speaking about the Gentiles in this passage. yet they take pleasure in it anyway. This is the consequence for not honoring and worshiping God who makes His righteousness knowable. Ill. “They say to the Almighty. People know that sin will be judged. W. He also gave them over to “to a depraved mind. First. 19).: Victor Books. He gave them over to “in the sinful desires of their hearts” (vs. and they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (vs. Paul gives a list of reasons why God condemns men. 26) this is the lusts of homosexuality that men and women yearn for as Paul explains. 24) this is idolatry and the physical sexual sins they practiced. 18). 21). “God gave them up! This is the revelation of the wrath of God (v. this is the wrath of God. the Lord gives them over to their thinking so that they are not capable of thinking about God clearly.
John Calvin.)” Paul is explaining that God has demonstrated His righteousness through the weakness and unrighteousness of man. John. In 3:5. . Available from http://www. It is 10 11 The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. God‟s righteous judgment is upon everyone and He judges with righteous principles.org/ccel/calvin/calcom38. “But if our unrighteousness brings out God‟s righteousness more clearly. doest the same things: so it is literally. God has nothing else to offer unrepentant sinner except His righteous wrath. but the meaning is. For when you judge another. the same as Gentiles and all peoples. anyone of you who judges is without excuse. God will judge sin according to His righteousness. Through chapter 2:1-3:8. do the same things”10. “Therefore. you condemn yourself. the phrase “righteousness of God” is used for the second time.ccel. judging. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.11” Although the Jews didn‟t like to hear it. Verse 1 states. If the unrighteousness of man allows God to save. Those who reject this offer of right standing with God face His wrathful judgment. Internet. explains. because they were not in a right state of mind. what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.html. “For thou.” And he says that they did them. 2003. brining Him the glory. “Paul did not explain or answer the charge in detail but forcefully condemns the accusation. it was true. the judge." Christian Classics Ethereal Library. since you. God‟s righteousness is impartial to all peoples. the great reformer. (Ro 2:1) Calvin. thou yet doest the same things. Utley said. “Though thou judgest. Paul teaches that the Jews are also sinners.righteousness is and offers it to men. accessed 12 August 2010. for sin properly belongs to the mind. "Commentary on Romans. then how can God judge? Paul repeats a similar question in verse 7 and the obvious answer is no. But Paul is countering an argument that they (the audience) would likely make.
Every person has fallen short but able to be “justified” or “put in the right standing” with God because God‟s righteousness is a “gift” by His grace. The saving righteousness of God has become a reality through the work of Jesus Christ. (Ro 3:7-8). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. “being justified as a gift by His grace”. not through the Mosaic law”13. “The second half of verse 21 guards against a possible misinterpretation of the salvationhistorical shift. verse 23 is continued in verses 24-25.possible that the objection to a free undeserved justification by faith was that it would lead to lawlessness or just more unfaithful disobedience”12. This is includes both people to whom Paul is writing. Study Guide Commentary Series. R. which is apart from the Law. 12 Utley. Paul‟s abundant use of Old Testament Scripture in Romans shows that God‟s salvationhistorical scheme was consistent and fulfilled through Jesus Christ. The next section (3:21-4:25). he claims that this righteousness. Vol. Volume 5: The Gospel According to Paul: Romans. 1998. The phrase “righteousness of God” in verses 24-25 are preceded by the famous memory verse “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (vs. Again. The Old Testament prophets have always claimed that righteousness is from God (1:2). 25. Romans.. Jews and Gentiles. D. In verse 21 Paul explains that God‟s righteousness dikaiosyne theou is available apart from the Law. 13 Schreiner. Schreiner clearly states. Then in verse 22. However. J. This is the distinction which Paul wants the Jews living in Rome to understand about God‟s righteousness. the phrase “righteousness from God” appears in verses 21. is available through faith in Jesus Christ. Thomas R. 22. Paul writes about God’s righteousness as provided through Jesus Christ. Texas: Bible Lessons International. Marshall. 23). 180 . 1998. and 26 of this chapter.
Jesus made this possible because He was the “propitiation” when He was punished for sinners. 3) even before circumcision was instituted. Paul finishes verse 25. “This was to demonstrate His righteousness.” God demonstrates His righteousness through believer‟s faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 13 sums up the concept that Paul is trying to make. Lawrence O. Paul gives Scriptural examples of justification by faith. but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” Plainly said. 1991. God‟s wrath was propitiated or “satisfied” when Christ blood was shed for the sins of man. He quotes Genesis 15:6 to show that because of Abraham‟s faithfulness. “Paul argues in Rom. “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world.Paul finishes the second part of verse 24. “Abraham was credited with righteousness before his circumcision. because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed. the “righteousness of God” comes by faith the same way as Abraham and David received it.) Wheaton: Victor Books. Schreiner says about this section. The fact that Abraham was claimed righteous by God before circumcision is powerful for the Jews to hear. “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”. The next section (5:1-8:39) shows how God’s righteousness brings hope and victory. that unique sign that marked a person off as a Jew in Old Testament times. 7). 5-8 that those who are right with God are the 14 Richards. The Bible readers companion (electronic ed. righteousness was credited to him (vs. everyone who believes stands in the right with God because of His gift of righteousness. Lawrence explains. Thus Gentiles can look to Abraham‟s experience as a precedent!”14 Paul also uses King David as another example of righteousness through faith by quoting Psalm 32 (vs. 740 . In chapter 4.
In verse 1. Since these promise are theirs. God‟s righteousness prevents this condemnation. the believer is perfect in His sight.. the new people of God have an unshakable hope”15.inheritors of the future promises made to Israel. 180 Moo. In chapter 8. “The second Adam. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Paul writes the popular verse “For the wages of sin is death. Verse 2 teaches that the justified believer “stands in this grace” and we “rejoice in this hope”. because the believer is justified by faith. 12.. but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Jesus Christ. there is peace with God because of the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. 2002. 1998. Encountering The Book Of Romans. Paul declares that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. through his righteous act of obedience to the Father on the cross. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. who brought righteousness into the world (vs. He is righteous. the second Adam. Jesus was able to bring this righteousness into the world because it belongs to Him. Moo includes. Paul compares and contrasts Adam who brought sin into the world with Jesus Christ. 19). the Creator of the universe frees men on account of His own righteousness through faith. Romans. 103 . This freedom from bondage is unparalleled and incomprehensible. 15 16 Schreiner. has overcome the disastrous results of Adam‟s sin”16. The hope is “God‟s righteousness”. Chapter 5 explains this hope and victory in the midst of our fallen state in a fallen world. 18. Thomas R. Chapters 6-8 speak about the freedom and release from sin‟s bondage because of God‟s righteousness given as a gift. In 6:23. Douglas J. The hope is because of the righteousness of God given as a gift to unrighteous men. because He is God.
not even one. “I will call them „my people‟ who are not my people. Paul says that he is preaching “the word of faith” (vs. no one who seeks God. and I will call her „my loved one‟ who is not my loved one.The next section of Romans (9:1-11:36) shows that The righteousness of God is available to everyone. you will be saved.then” statement. “with the heart a person believes resulting in righteousness” (God‟s righteousness).” In 10:3 we find the last uses of the phrase “righteousness of God”. Paul says that God‟s people are from the Jews and the Gentiles. there is no one who understands. In chapter 9 Paul shows how the Old Testament promises brings salvation to Israel yet still includes all peoples. In verse 9. In verse 24. . resulting in salvation. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord” and “believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. and “with the mouth he confesses. there is no one who does good. The “righteousness of God” is imputed to believers through faith because of the work of Jesus Christ. they have together become worthless. it occurs twice in this verse. Paul had just finish the last chapter saying that nothing is able to separate the believer from God‟s love. Everyone who believes and confesses that Jesus Christ is the resurrected Lord God will be saved. Paul explains that the Jews did not know God‟s infinite righteousness and were making an attempt to “establish” their own righteousness. Walvoord explains this passage well. “As it is written: “There is no one righteous. He quotes Hosea 2:23. As Paul had quoted Psalms and in 3:10-12.” He makes clear what this means in verse 10.” This is Paul‟s point in 10:3-4 that the Jews were trying to create their righteousness through the law as opposed to God‟s righteousness dikaiosyne theou through faith in Jesus Christ. The word of faith is found in the next two verses (910) in and “if . All have turned away. everlasting and victorious. not even one. implying that the power of God‟s righteousness is unfailing. 8). The righteousness of man fails to meet God‟s standards. Paul writes.
The next section of Romans (12:1-15:13) Paul teaches about the transforming power of the righteousness of God. This righteousness that is of God changes lives. 6). now God commands that we live our lives as a sacrifice for His glory.. Through God‟s grace He has provided a free gift of His own righteousness by placing faith in Jesus Christ. 17 Walvoord.” (The NAS version uses the translation “Whoever will”). v. Paul understood that he is referring to Jesus here as God the Jehovah of the Old Testament.. IL: Victor Books. and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (lit. Zuck. 1983. we are to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is. The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. holy and pleasing to God”. & Dallas Theological Seminary.”17 Paul continues in verse 13 to make certain that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. that which is good and acceptable and prefect”. He contrasts this by urging believers not to be conforming to the pattern of the world. B. In verse 2.. God wants to transform our minds with His righteousness.“The confession is an acknowledgement that God has been incarnated in Jesus (cf. that God commands that every believer “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice. The world wants to control our minds and conform us to its desires but God is renewing our minds to do what “is good acceptable and perfect”. F. (Ro 10:9–13) . 7). R. As Walvoord stated above that anyone who believe is justified and anyone who confesses is saved. that Jesus Christ is God. which in Hebrew uses the word YHWH (Yahweh). The true order is given in verse 10: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (lit.. Paul explains in the first 2 verses of chapter 12. God has not given us over “to do those things which are not proper” (1:28). “it is believed unto righteousness”). J. “it is confessed unto salvation”). Wheaton. Paul quoted from Joel 2:32. v. The result is salvation. Also essential is heart-faith that God raised Him from the dead (cf.
It was God‟s promise in the Old Testament and it was fulfilled through Jesus Christ and His substitutionary work on the cross at Calvary. issues and theologies. we see the glimpse of hope that he discussed back in chapter 5. . The hope that is given. this the unity that brings Jews and Gentiles together and eventually all nations. In 16:20.In the last section. Paul has spoken of many topics. tongues before the throne in God‟s kingdom (Revelation 7:9). by grace. We see God‟s righteousness expressed in the individuals and churches related with and effected by Paul‟s ministry. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”. (15:14-16:27) as Paul addresses his brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are a part of his ministry. to all believers is the righteousness of God and the victory is sure because He is “able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (vs. These are contemporaries of Paul who had experienced the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. “God‟s righteousness” is offered by faith to “whosoever” (10:13) confesses and believes. yet throughout it‟s entirely the righteousness of God‟s is beautifully woven and laced as the theme. tribes. which is the power of God for salvation because “in it the righteousness of God is revealed” (1:17). 25). Salvation is unattainable without God‟s righteousness given to men. At one point or another they were evangelized the gospel. In this letter to Romans.
Douglas J.) (Ro 1:16–17). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. D. Volume 5: The Gospel According to Paul: Romans. 1998. John. 2 (1903). Lawrence O. Moo. P.. Walvoord. 22 no. W. W. & Mitchell. Available from http://www. (Ro 3:7-8).BIBLIOGRAPHY Calvin. Who's who in Christian history. Internet. IL: Victor Books. Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume. Thomas R. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. R.. 1997 Henry. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.. Wheaton. Texas: Bible Lessons International.org/ccel/calvin/calcom38. . James.." Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. The Bible readers companion (electronic ed. 1998.: Victor Books. Douglas.html. 2003. Wheaton. 1996. "Commentary on Romans. Peabody: Hendrickson. J.: Tyndale House.. (Ro 1:19-32). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Richards. Marshall. (electronic ed.ccel. Ill. Zuck. Matthew. B. The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. J.) Wheaton: Victor Books. Study Guide Commentary Series. & Dallas Theological Seminary. (Ro 10:9–13) Wiersbe. F. Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament. 1996 Utley. 1991." Christian Classics Ethereal Library. 1997. D. ""Righteousness" and "The Righteousness of God" in the Old Testament and in St. Wheaton. Encountering The Book Of Romans. D. 1983. Paul. accessed 12 August 2010. Romans. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers. Ill. Ropes. Schreiner. J. Vol. R. 2002. Comfort. W. (Ro 2:1) The Holy Bible : New International Version..
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