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Dec 30, 2018

Originally Presented on July 23, 2006.

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:16-17

            Romans 1:17 heralds the theme of the book of Romans, namely 'the righteousness of God.'  This phrase is so full of meaning that it is fair to say that the rest of the epistle was written to explain it.  Some form of the word 'right' is found 65 times in Romans.

             The phrase 'the righteousness of God' describes not so much an attribute of God, but an activity of God . . . whereby He declares righteous those who trust in Christ without compromising His own righteousness. 

             When Martin Luther understood this truth, he was born again.  His statement, at length, is worth including in this summary. 

             "I greatly longed to understand Paul's epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one phrase 'the righteousness of God' because I took it to mean that righteousness whereby God is righteous and deals righteously in punishing the unrighteous.  Night and day I pondered until I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby through grace and sheer mercy He justifies, not punishes, us by faith.

             "Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.  The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning.  Whereas before the 'righteousness of God' filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love.  This passage of Paul became to me a gateway to heaven."