The Righteousness of God

I’m not ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16)

Paul took a lot of abuse because of his stand with the gospel (I Corinthians 4:13; I Peter 4:16; I John 2:28). Yet his rejection by men was not shameful to him. Shame is for those who have done wrong. Paul is involved with something that does right. The gospel is the means by which salvation is given to those who believe in the gospel (I Corinthians 1:18-21; II Timothy 1:12; Romans 9:33; Mark 8:38).

Paul’s two points, as to why he is not ashamed of the gospel, become the theme of his letter. This is Paul’s thesis statement if you would. These are the points he is asserting to be true and the remainder of the letter will prove his point.

The gospel is God’s power to save

The gospel is the power of God; thus, it is not the product of men as so commonly claimed (Galatians 1:11-12; I Corinthians 2:10-13; II Timothy 3:16-17). The gospel is not a weakness but a demonstration of God’s power (I Corinthians 1:18, 23-29; Jeremiah 23:29; Isaiah 55:10-11; Hebrews 4:12; II Corinthians 4:7; 10:4-5).

It is the aim of that gospel to produce salvation in men (Romans 10:17; James 1:21). In the parable of the sower, it is the word of God which is sown that then produces results (Luke 11:28; I Peter 1:22-25).

However, hearing alone is not enough. The message has to be believed (Romans 10:18-21; Hebrews 11:6; Mark 16:16-17). Thus while the gospel is spread abroad, it does not automatically produce conversions.

In giving that gospel message, it was taught first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 3:26; 13:46).

Class Discussion:

  1. Can salvation be accomplished without a person knowing the word of God?
  2. Why did the Jews get the gospel first?

The gospel reveals the righteousness of God (Romans 1:17)

The gospel shows us how God always acts in righteousness, and through the gospel, righteousness is brought to man (Daniel 9:24).

The meaning of the phrase “from faith to faith” is heavily debated because the words used can have multiple meanings, depending on the context. What a person thinks is being said is heavily influenced by what he supposes is Paul’s point. The question is how is the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel, which first leads to the question of what is meant by the righteousness of God (see the word study later in this lesson). Some suggested possibilities are:

  • God’s righteousness is demonstrated in how the faith (God’s teaching - Ephesians 4:4-6) produces faith (Romans 10:3).
  • God’s righteousness is demonstrated in the faith of the Old Testament that leads to the faith of the New Testament.
  • God’s righteousness is demonstrated in the beginnings of faith that then progresses to the full maturity of faith. Paul often uses repeated words in this way (Romans 6:19; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:18). Thus, salvation only comes by holding on to faith to the end (Hebrews 10;38-39).
  • Man sees the righteousness of God when he believes the gospel and because of that faith in it, he spreads the faith to others (Matthew 28:18-20).

Salvation is not in man, but man is declared righteous by God and man lives by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Ephesians 2:1; John 3:36; 6:33, 51; 20:31; Romans 5:18; 8:6). The word translated as “just” (dikaios) is a form of the same word for “righteousness” (dikaiosune).

Word Study: “The Righteousness of God”

  • Isaiah 51:5
  • Isaiah 56:1
  • Daniel 9:24
  • Matthew 6:33
  • Romans 1:17
  • Romans 3:5
  • Romans 3:21-22
  • Romans 3:25
  • Romans 6:13
  • Romans 10:3
  • II Corinthians 5:21
  • Philippians 3:9
  • James 1:20
  • II Peter 1:1
  1. What does the righteousness of God refer to?
  2. Can there be more than one answer?
  3. Can there be multiple meanings at the same time?
  4. What does the righteousness of God refer to in Romans?

Word Study: “Faith”

  1. List the different ways “faith” can be used in the New Testament. Give supporting verses.
  2. How can we tell which meaning is being used?
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