“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'”

// Romans 1:17

When we reflect on the amazing grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it is crazy to think that there are times when we are not bold and unashamed for Him. We hold back because we think being unashamed is based on how right we feel, but as Paul states in this verse, it should be based on the reality that His righteousness is now our righteousness as a free gift. But praise God for His grace even when we are unclear in our proclamation of His love for us, or timid about inviting others to church to hear the Gospel. Through these times of failure in our worship of Christ we realize how amazing this Gospel truly is.

The Gospel reveals how ‘right’ and ‘perfect’ God is, both in who He is and in what He has done for us. Preceding verse 17 Paul reveals that he is unashamed of this gospel for it is the salvation of everyone who believes. He is unashamed not because he has hyped himself up or done everything right, but because he realizes that there is no other way to be saved except through the finished work of Christ. It is by faith in Christ alone that we are saved, and Paul’s boldness arises through humility not pride.

Without the perfect love of Christ, Paul would of been condemned. The same is true for us. But Jesus did not keep His righteousness to Himself; He did this wondrous thing where He took all of our ‘missing the mark’ upon Himself. He carried every wrong motivation, thought, word and action to the cross, and when He died, our sin died with Him. But because the penalty of death only applies to those who have sinned, death could not hold Him down and He was raised to life three days later, revealing that love conquers death.

It’s this great love from God that led Jesus to do this for us and exchange our sin for His righteousness. He knew that without right standing before God we couldn’t experience His Presence; we couldn’t know Him the way we were designed to know Him. And if we couldn’t know Him we would never truly know ourselves and never be fulfilled, because the only thing that can truly satisfy us is God Himself. So Jesus came in our place and died the death we deserved so that there would be nothing left for us to do in order to experience salvation and His presence. Jesus did it all and all we need to do is place our faith in Him.

We live not by proving our rightness, but by living faith in His righteousness. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). The substance and evidence of something we did not have we now have through our faith in Christ: His righteousness. So let’s throw ourselves upon the rock of His salvation today, receiving His righteousness and accessing this amazing relationship with Him. May the pride of our attempts to save ourselves be smashed against the immovable cornerstone of His love for all of us in this great city.

// Ps. Josh Kelsey