Please read part 1 of this message before reading this one, so that you may better understand. The link is at the end of this message.
2. Righteousness defined (vv. 22-23)
“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:22–23, ESV)
Paul defines this righteousness of God as that which is through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. We already saw how the righteousness of God has been revealed, but now Paul defines this righteousness as through faith in Jesus Christ. What does the preposition “through” mean? It means that the righteousness of God comes by means of faith in Jesus Christ. It means that this righteousness of God is obtained as a result of faith in Jesus Christ. It is by means of, as a result of, through faith in Jesus that this righteousness is achieved. The phrase “in Jesus Christ” means that the object of the faith is Jesus Christ. The target, or the focus of our faith must be in Jesus Christ. Therefore, Paul defines the righteousness of God as that which is obtained by means of putting our faith in Jesus Christ.
In Romans 1:17, Paul indicates that this righteousness is found in the gospel, and begins and ends with faith. Paul also stated in Gal 2:16 that we are not justified by the works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ. He also said in Phil 3:9 that righteousness that comes from the law is not from God, but the one from God is through faith in Jesus and is depended on faith. Paul is therefore saying that righteousness of God will not be found in obeying the law but, through faith in Jesus. No one will be justified or declared not guilty before God through obeying the law but it is only through faith in Jesus. We know that the righteousness of God comes from God, and it has been clearly revealed for all to see, and it has been revealed apart from the law, and now we know that the way to obtain this righteousness is by means of putting our faith in Jesus Christ.
But, is putting faith in Jesus, the only way to obtain this righteousness, or is there another way? Read with me John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV)
Jesus says He is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus did not say that He is a way, a truth, a life but the way, the truth and the life. Read with me Acts 4:8-12
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”” (Acts 4:8–12, ESV)
It does not get any clearer than this. There is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved. Jesus is not one of the ways but, the only way. No one comes to God except through Jesus. Ancestors will not help you, allah will not help you, muhammad will not help you, buddah will not help you, no one will help you. The only way is by means of faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul not only indicates that the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus but, adds that it is for all who believe. What Paul means by this phrase “for all who believe” is that, although the righteousness of God is obtained by means of faith in Jesus, one must actually exercise that faith for one to obtain this righteousness. The phrase “for all who believe” can better be translated “for all the ones believing”. This righteousness of God through faith in Jesus, is not available for every single human being, but it is only available for the ones who actually puts their faith in Jesus. If you do not put your faith in Jesus, then you will not obtain this righteousness.
Why is this righteousness applicable to all? that is because there is no difference among people regarding their condition of sin, or regarding the means of salvation offered to them. Why is that the case? that is because it is a timeless general fact that all have sinned and as a result, continue to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God means the sum total of who God is. By falling short of the glory of God Paul means we fail to live up to the image or character of God we were meant to live up to. No one is exempted. There is no such thing as a good person in God’s eyes as we have all without exception, failed and continue to fail to live up to the glory of God. Therefore, we all need the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
As an unbeliever, maybe you thought that there was another way. Maybe you thought that you could cheat your way through to heaven. Maybe you thought that God is too loving to be just. Maybe you thought you could convince God to let you into His kingdom. Today is the day that you repent. As a believer, maybe you thought that Jesus alone was not the only way, and you needed the law, you needed your ancestors, but today you know that Jesus is the only way. Today is the day that you repent.
to be continued…..