Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (65)

Christ in Gethsemane
Heinrich Hofmann, 1890

But now the righteousness of God is revealed …, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

Romans 3:21.22.

After it has been demonstrated that man can show no righteousness that is valid for God, “God’s righteousness is revealed” independently of the law of Moses and of any other law. The words “but now” indicate a new period of time known as the age of grace. God’s righteousness has taken effect in favour of man without our having to or being able to contribute anything towards it. And whereas the law was directed at the people of Israel, the gospel, the offer of grace, addresses all without any distinction. None need appear before God in “filthy rags”, for salvation is offered to all. This is the sense of His righteousness being offered “to all’.

How does God’s righteousness become effective for sinful man? By faith, not by his own efforts, and not by any form of belief that suits us, but “through faith in Jesus Christ”. The way of salvation is so simple! Paul had just stated that the whole world had become guilty before God (v.19). Now he explains that God offers every sinner salvation and righteousness through faith in Christ.

Whoever believes on Christ is pronounced just. God’s righteousness comes solely upon “all who believe.” Such no longer place their trust in their own righteousness. They have confessed their guilt before God and accepted Christ by faith. Now they are saved, they are righteous before God and safe from eternal judgment.

Image: By Heinrich Hofmann – Self-scanned by User:JGHowes from 1945 print published by the Board of Trustees, Riverside Church, New York, NY, Public Domain,