Summary: Second in a series on Romans dealing with the path to atheism laid out in chapter one.

Alliance Church

May 20, 2001

Pastor David Welch

“The Ragged Road to Atheism”

Romans 1:18-23

Introduction to the series

My goal throughout this endeavor is that we will more deeply understand the great truths of our great salvation so wonderfully presented in chapters 1-8 and having understood them more deeply seek to live them more diligently as encouraged in chapters 12-16.

Consider this series a spiritual journey intended by God to deepen your walk with Him.

Commit to applying truth as you encounter it and God enlightens it.

This is more than an intellectual exercise.

This is a spiritual pilgrimage to greater spiritual maturity.

I am much more interested in evidence of the spiritual renewal presented in Romans than our ability to intellectually recall selected facts about Romans.




Paul’s Personal Portrait


“A bond-servant of Christ Jesus”

“A called apostle”

“Having been separated (by God) for the gospel of God”


of God,

about Christ,

according to the Scripture,

for the nations,

unto the obedience of faith,

for the sake of the Name.


Paul’s Fiery Passion

Passion to Pray

Passion to Promote spiritual maturity

Passion to Preach the Gospel

I am under obligation to preach the gospel

I am eager to preach the gospel


Paul’s Firm Persuasion

I am not ashamed of the gospel

I am convinced the Gospel is the power of God for salvation

Paul skillfully slides from expressing his heart to identifying the heart of his subject.

How can a sinful person restore relationship with a holy God?

Before we enter the details concerning the subject, let’s briefly review and clarify the theme introduced in the introduction.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." 1:16-17


The “good news” of God is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes.


The power of the gospel message lies in its uncompromising unveiling or revealing of the righteousness of God.

This term and its cousins appear throughout the book, especially in the first four chapters.


Translated -- just, justification, justified, right, righteous, righteousness.

The concept of each is similar.

It focuses on the state of being right, righteous, just, justified.

Just or right presupposes a standard.

Without an established standard, it is impossible to reliably resolve rightness or wrongness.

Righteousness signifies conformity to a standard.

To justify someone is to determine or declare they have not violated the accepted standard.


If I go to court, the prosecutor tries to prove I violated the law.

The defense attorney seeks to get me justified or acquitted and prove I conformed to the law.

A righteous person is someone who conforms to a standard.

The righteousness of God is the state of absolute conformity to His standard.

God reveals his righteousness and the means to obtain it in the Gospel message.


The Holy Spirit continually convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

• Failure to believe in Jesus leaves mankind to deal with sin on their own.

• God requires absolute conformity to the law (His standard) in order to be saved.

• Failure to perfectly conform to the His standard requires judgment.

Only those who stand righteous with God’s level or rightness will discover life.

In an age where absolutes are abolished and every person embraces what is right in their own eyes there is no sense of offense against God.

Paul sought to demonstrate that every person stands guilty before God.

Jesus called his followers to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Not attempting to do what is right according to their own standard but living according to HIS righteousness.

The gospel’s power lies in its revelation of God’s standard and conformity to it and how to be justified or declared righteousness through the saving work of Christ and how to enter into a restored relationship with God.

This “righteousness” of God is revealed by means of “faith to faith.”

We find right standing with God (righteousness) on the basis of faith and faith alone.


Personal Matters

I. Receive the gift of God’s righteousness by faith 1-5

II. Apply the gift of God’s righteousness by understanding 6-8

III. Don’t miss the gift of God’s righteousness like Israel 9-11

IV. Live the gift of God’s righteousness by submission 12-15

Personal Matters


I. Receive the gift of God’s righteousness by faith 1-5

A. Every man needs God’s righteousness because all have sinned 1-3

1. The self-centered hedonist has sinned 1:18-32

Before Paul reveals the gift of God’s righteousness he had to address man’s unrighteousness and God’s true feelings about it.

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