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August 6, 2017

"THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED"

TEXT: Romans 1-17 (Read vv. 13-17)
READING:  Habakkuk 2: 1-20

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SUBJ: The righteousness of God as it is revealed in the Gospel, the way it is received, and the resultant life where the Gospel is received.

AIM: That we might ever look away from self and unto the righteousness of God as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

INTR: Paul was quite emphatic in declaring that he was not ashamed of the Gospel in that it is the power of God unto salvation with wide-reaching implications.
1. The “for” that begins the 17th verse has an obvious and deep-rooted reference to that Gospel power. That which empowers it is the revelation of the righteousness of God and that subsequent life that comes to those who receive it.
2. This verse has a profound place in history in that it was that which was revealed to Luther and others and thus triggered the Protestant Reformation.
3. It has a liberating effect on all who come to experience the revelation of which Paul speaks in that faith is brought to the front and becomes the essential to life in believers.

THESIS: Justification before God requires no less than that which was manifested in Christ Jesus our Lord and it is by faith alone that we are brought to embrace that life and claim is as He has ordained – the imparted and imputed righteousness of Christ is all that avails.

I. The Righteousness of God
1. At first reading, this seems a rather simple text and the definition immediately forthcoming:
1) In fact, this righteousness, claimed by faith, is sensed in all true believers even if not fully understood.
2) As great an understanding of all Bible truth is to be desired and should be fervently sought.
2. What this righteousness is not:
1) That which is certainly an attribute of God in that His holiness is evident in all that He does and so would be pressed upon us to be acknowledged and submitted to.
2) It is not even the righteousness of Christ as we know Him to be without spot or blemish.
3) It is certainly not a righteousness worked out by any manner or amount of endeavor on the part of men it declared that the best of or righteousness appear as filthy rags to God.
4) It not a righteousness assumed by heritage or participation in an organization – the Jews were an example of those who thought themselves distinguished as the historical people of God.
3. It is this righteousness that empowers the Gospel – works a desired result (again we note 1 Corinthians 2:5)
1) It is that righteousness that was manifested in Christ as a man living the life that we must have to be accepted of God.
2) It is that which is credited to the account of His people (imputation)
i. Having had our sin imputed to Him and for which He died and
ii. Having His righteousness so ordered as if we had lived perfectly
3) It is the righteousness that is worked in us as a result of the washing of regeneration and the sanctifying work of the Spirit – being made a new creature with new life which is the active component in our life before God and men.
4. In that it was said to be revealed, it was that which was foreshadowed under the law of sacrifices and prophesied by Holy men of old:
1) See, In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 23:6.
2) And, In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. Jeremiah 33:16.

II. From faith to faith
1. Again, there are many thoughts that are set forth regarding this statement:
1) That it is from the faith of one entity to another – Old to New Testament, Preacher to people, or of Christ to us.
2) That it refers to the advancing decrees of faith. Growth in apprehending the truths of God is expected and commended but
3) A thought may well be that of the faith wherein we believe that He is to that which we believe about diligent seeking – see Hebrews 11:6
2. The essence of what is being said here, and I quote Lloyd-Jones: “what he is saying is, that God’s righteousness by faith is revealed to our faith. It is only the man who has faith who sees it, and who accepts it, glorying and rejoicing in it.”
3. A quote on faith: “They who know what is meant by faith in a promise, know what is meant by faith in the Gospel; those who know what is faith in a remedy, know what is meant by faith in the blood of the Redeemer; they who know what is meant by faith in a physician, faith in an advocate, faith in a friend, know, too, what is meant by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Bishop O’Brien as quoted by Donald Barnhouse.

III. The just shall live by faith
1. The verse that set Martin Luther off in defiance of the Roman church and so fanned the flame of the Reformation.
1) It is not that he was either first or unique in the development of this thought
2) There were those in existence all along the way that held to the blessed truth declared here.
2. The thought is pursued in several ways:
1) Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4
2) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Galatians 3:11
3) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:38.