In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve knew God and fellowshipped with Him; but when they sinned, they lost that special relationship. As a result, the next generation of man lost the moral knowledge of God. This left humanity with no righteousness of our own and the inherent tendency to drift into sin, which produces misery in our souls.
Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18) Those who “hold the truth in unrighteousness” are those who know of God but are disrespectful to Him and unjust toward humanity.
“Truth” in the Scriptures is more comprehensive than our modern word. As used in Romans 1:18, “truth” means the moral and true wisdom of God available to man. Jesus encouraged His listeners to put their trust in the light – the truth of God. He said, “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. “ (John 3:21)
Many come to the light but are only willing to live in the physical sense, not in the Spirit. They express themselves through their works. In so doing, they hinder or oppose the truth of God, and therefore remain condemned.
Unrighteousness is evil, and God’s wrath opposes it. He is not against humans, but against their sin. He loves sinners and desires salvation for them. Failing to treat people as God’s created beings made in His image suppresses His truth, bringing His wrath.
Adam and Eve knew the righteousness of God and had His truth, but they refused to obey it. Their evil attitude suppressed the truth of God and His love to all their children. Because of that, all humans are born lost, needing salvation.
Even those who do not have the truth of God’s Word have creation and their conscience to warn them of God’s judgment. They need the revelation of God’s righteousness and faith, that they might give to Him reverence, worship and service, and turn from the worship of created beings and idols.
As an attribute of man, “righteousness” refers to his conformity to God’s will and moral standards. When Christ’s righteousness is applied to a believer, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit passes on the power for godly living.
Faith is man’s reaction to the revelation of Christ’s righteousness. God passes Christ’s righteousness to those who trust in Him. This is a miracle of God. When we apply faith, reverence and worship unto God, this is His faith wrought out in us.
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. Please join us.