Righteousness Comes Through Faith

Paul’s letter to the Romans provided a walkthrough of how righteousness is obtained. He began by showing how we cannot acquire it independently (Romans 3:10), but he then provided the necessary path. We cannot find it by keeping the law, but God revealed righteousness through Jesus. “The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction” (Romans 3:22). Our salvation comes through faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as the mercy seat by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:21-26

Some wrongly interpret the New Testament to portray a religion of faith, while the Old Testament focuses on works. Did you know that Yahweh called the father of the Israelites righteous even though his track record didn’t prove it? After Yahweh chose to bless Abram (Genesis 12:1-3), we discover in the following verses that he isn’t that righteous of an individual (Genesis 12:12-13). 

When Yahweh promised that a promised child and an unfathomable legacy would follow Abraham, Abraham took Him at His word. “Abraham believed the LORD, and he credited to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). It wasn’t that Abraham obeyed, followed, or applied commands from the LORD that gave him his necessary righteousness. It was belief. Faith was the vehicle through which righteousness came. And it is the same for us!

Just like Abraham, each of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Instead of leaving us in our sin, we are justified as righteous by the grace Jesus extends (Romans 3:24).

God proves His commitment to righteousness in that our forgiveness was dependent upon Jesus’ sacrifice.

Jesus had to shed His blood because God still takes righteousness and unrighteousness seriously (Romans 3:25). “God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and justify the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). God would not have been just if He would have overlooked sin, but He would not have been gracious if He left us in our sinful state.

Jesus was a perfect sacrifice in that He required no reconciliation on His behalf because He never sinned. His perfectly righteous status enabled Him to take our place and provide us with the necessary righteousness.