The Righteousness of God

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16-17 – “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: … For therein is the righteousness of God revealed …” It must be then that where there is no preaching of the righteousness of God, there is neither preaching of the Gospel of Christ or believing it. What does Paul mean by “the righteousness of God”? Since the Gospel is the Gospel of salvation, it declares the God who saves! He is “the righteous God.” That is, a “just God and a Saviour.” Righteousness has to do with what God does just as holiness has to do with how He is. “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.” (Psalm 7:9) God must do right; He must do justly in all His salvation. God must do right as Abraham said in Genesis 18:25 – “That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from Thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Thus God delivered “righteous Lot.” But how was Lot righteous? Being righteous, God must also require righteousness, but among Adam’s fallen children there are “none righteous, no, not one.” Therefore, for any such as Lot to be righteous, they must be “made” righteous, and that righteousness must come from God and must be a gift! Thus, Paul again in Romans 5:17 – “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” God gives righteousness as a gift of His grace in His Son, and God imputes that righteousness to them, making His people “the righteousness of God IN HIM! Christ is their only righteousness (and all their righteousness) being “the LORD our righteousness.” He is of God made unto us “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” There is no preaching of Christ without the preaching of this righteousness that God gives to His elect freely in Christ Jesus. There is no magnifying God, no preaching of salvation, except there be a preaching of how God is just (righteous) as a “just God and a Saviour” to do so. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Christ’s throne and kingdom. It is ever true, “blessed is the man to whom God imputes righteousness without works.” No wonder old Bunyan wrote of “the glory of an imputed righteousness.”

G. Shepard

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