October 4, 2023
The book of Romans is unmistakably clear. The verdict is set. The gavel has fallen. The judge has spoken. You have been charged! As you stand in the dock as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been pronounced, “RIGHTEOUS!” (justified).
“Are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
God has declared it so! And when God says you are righteous, you are righteous! There is no higher authority. With this pronouncement resounding in our ears, we have the ability to live righteous lives.
Living in the good of this reality is what the Christian life is all about. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:17).
The book of Romans is a declaration of God’s righteousness. As we walk through this book, there are 5 areas to be considered.
First, the opening chapters of Romans primarily deal with the awfulness of sin. It is a flagrant denial of God’s righteousness. Whether it is the heathen who has willfully turned their back on evident truth, or the religious who knows the law of God, or someone in between, the conclusion is the same; “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
Secondly, from the end of Chapter 3 to Chapter 5, Paul explains the beauty of God’s salvation. It is an explanation of God’s righteousness.
He uses 3 glorious terms that tell the gospel story:
“Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight” (Romans 3:24).
“We have been made right in God’s sight by faith” (Romans 5:1).
“We have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ” (Romans 5:9).
This is what Martin Luther, the great reform leader, found out. Martin Luther was born in 1483 and, as a young intelligent man, received his bachelor degree in just one year and his master’s degree three years later.
He was nearly struck by lightning and got such a fright that he called out to St. Anne and promised to become a monk. Young Martin fully dedicated himself to the effort of good works to please God and to serve others through prayer for their souls. Yet peace with God escaped him. He devoted himself to fasts, flagellations, long hours in prayer, and constant confession. The more he tried to do for God, the more aware he became of his own sinfulness.
The demands of study for academic degrees and preparation for delivering lectures drove Martin Luther to study the Scriptures in depth. As he did this, he came to understand that there was nothing he could do to please God and that the Lord Jesus did all that was necessary to make him a righteous person. He rested in Christ and found peace with God. He once said; “Faith is the yes of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes their life.”
From chapters 6 to 8, Paul reminds us of the sanctification process of spiritual growth. Here, we are told how to enjoy God’s righteousness.
He reminds us of certain realities that we know as believers because of our link with Christ and how we need to be aware of our sinful tendencies. The wonderful conclusion is that we have with us the Spirit of God who has power to give us victory over sin (Romans 8:12-17).
Then, in chapters 9 to 11, Paul writes about God’s sovereign plan in the past, present, and future. This is God’s righteousness exhibited through the ages of men.
God chose Israel to be His people with their purpose being to shine the light of the gospel to all nations. They rejected Christ, and so He left them and welcomed the Gentiles into His blessing (Romans 11:11-32).
Lastly, he closes the book, from chapters 12-16, with emphasis being placed on our service for God. It is in this section that we are told how to practice the righteousness of God.
He starts with a great entreaty, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).
As we yield to our Lord and Savior, we will love one another, we will accept one another, and we will please Him, who loved us unto death.
Thank you for joining us in prayer for our prodigals and for revival among us. Peter says, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12).
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel