After stating that “all the world” is “guilty before God” for breaking His “law,” and that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:19-20), Paul then points to the only hope of lost sinners:
…even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on allwho believe (Romans 3:22).
It’s is God’s righteousness that we need, not our own, for “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Just yesterday our dog unexpectedly unloaded a large amount of urine on our carpet, and believe me, the rag used to mop it up ended up “filthy.” Get my point? In the same way, “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” before the Lord. They stink. Why is that? The simple reason is because all “sin” is nasty to God, and we sinners are permeated with it. Now, we may not think so (for we all have a natural bent toward self-righteousness and pride), but God thinks so; not because He is mean, but because He is holy.
Yet God is also loving (see 1 John 4:8), which is why He has so mercifully provided a way of escape for us. This way of escape is His righteousness, which He now offers to us as a free gift. In Romans 3:22, Paul makes it clear that this “righteousness” only comes “through faith in Jesus Christ.” Notice the following New Testament facts:
- Jesus Christ is God (see John 1:1-3, 10; Phil. 2:6).
- Jesus “became flesh” (see John 1:14; Heb. 2:14).
- As a Man among men, Jesus never sinned even one time (1 Peter 2:22).
- Jesus perfectly obeyed the law of God (see Mat. 5:17).
- Jesus manifested tender love in everything He did, and “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
- Through daily obedience to the law, Jesus earned the right to the title, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer. 23:6).
- On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid the full penalty for “the sins [law breaking] of the whole world” (see 1 John 2:2).
- On the third day, He rose from the dead (see Luke 24:7; 1 Cor. 15:3,4).
- Jesus Christ’s righteousness (His righteous character) is “the righteousness of God,” and thus it is perfectly acceptable to the law (see Romans 3:21).
- Because our Savior “gave Himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:4), He now offers “Himself” and His righteousness to each of us as a free gift (see Romans 6:23).
Again, this “righteousness of God” only comes to sinners in one way. Not “by the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:20), or by human effort, but through “repentance” (see Acts 20:21) and “faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22).
Repentance means sorrow for sin,
and a choice to turn away from it.
Faith means trusting Jesus Christ completely,
and having “no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).