21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
As we work our way through the book of Romans we must periodically remember that the theme that Paul is writing about is the gospel (1:16) and in that gospel he says is revealed to us the righteousness of God (1:17). Some three chapters later Paul draws out that theme of righteousness and makes a clear connection between our need for righteousness, because of our sin, and God’s provision of righteousness through Jesus Christ.
We saw last time that the righteousness of Christ is the one thing we truly need in this life. There are many things we think we need, but in reality there is only one thing we really need. But how does it come to us? How do we gain this righteousness?
Paul makes it clear that the means by which we gain this righteousness is by faith. In fact he says it twice – through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Faith and belief come from the same Greek root pistis.
Charles Simeon reflects on this matter: “How this righteousness becomes ours—Faith is the means whereby alone we obtain an interest in it—This also is twice intimated in the text: nor can it be too often repeated, or too strongly insisted on. We must come to Christ as perishing sinners; and, without attempting to establish, in whole or in part, our own righteousness, we must submit to be saved by His alone (Ro 10:3). We must be contented to have His “righteousness imputed to us without works,” (Ro 4:6) and to make His obedience the one ground of our hope (Ro 5:19). They alone who thus regard Christ, can properly be said to believe in Him; and it is only when we thus believe, that “He is made of God righteousness unto us (1Co 1:30).”