To appear before God, who is just and holy, we must possess His righteousness. Paul declared that the only method of deliverance from sin is by faith, through the mercy of God, by Jesus Christ. “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’" (Romans 1:17) We find this doctrine in both the Old and New Testaments – the blessing of God was and is to be secured by faith.
Faith is all in all – from the beginning to the end of the Christian life. It is not a faith of works, as if by faith we can be justified by works and then kept by our works; but it is a faith that presses forward, gaining the victory over unbelief. Only a living faith in Christ can build purity of heart, grateful obedience, and an earnest desire to be Christ-like.
The reason the gospel is effective is not because it is pure morality or it reveals and confirms a future state of justice, but because the righteousness of God is revealed in it. Its meaning is to be learned not just from the signification of the words, but from the witness of scripture and the explanations given of the whole subject to which it relates.
This righteousness is not like justice or goodness. It is righteousness which is attained by faith. It is not by the law (Romans 3:21); it is a gift (Romans 5:17). It is not our own (Romans 10:3); it is from God (Philippians 3:9). These words express that Paul is speaking of a divine attribute. It is the righteousness of God, who is the author.
The Bible represents God in the character of a moral judge, and man is placed under a law of morality, which is his duty and the standard by which he is to be judged. This law is revealed in different ways, but it always has the same precepts, the same sanction, and the same promises. Those who obey the demands of this law are declared righteous; they are justified and entitled to God’s blessings. Those who are disobedient are declared unrighteous.
The gospel reveals the righteousness which God gives and approves and which is our justification before Him. It is a righteousness which is without the law, but by faith; which is not our own, but a gift from God imputed without works. Christ is our righteousness; we are righteous before God in Christ. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Pastor Odom’s message can be heard each Sunday on Radio KAML, AM 990, at 8:30 a.m. Choate Baptist Church meets for Sunday School at 9:45 a.m., Worship at 11 a.m., and Sunday and Wednesday Evening Services at 7 p.m. Visitors are always welcome.