Summary: Romans 1-4: Justication
Romans 1-4: Justification - The Righteousness of God
By: Wayne ODonnell
Date: Sunday, March 30, 2008
Introduction - Rom1:1-17
Everybody has an outline? Good morning, and it’s good to see you all again. There’s a few people I haven’t met yet.
We are going to be talking about Romans 1 through 4. Romans 1 through 4, the righteousness of God, justification. In verse 1: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom1:1-3.
The theme of this book, the book of Romans, is the gospel of God. Now it is incorrect to picture Jesus as trying to persuade the Father to forgive us, because the gospel was God the Father’s idea from the beginning. You notice it says “He had promised...by his prophets...concerning his Son,” Rom1:2-3.
The word “gospel” is from the old English, something like “good spiel”, meaning good news, and it is good news because it is the gospel of God, not of man. It is something about what God has done for man. If it was something about what man has to do for God, something else that we have to do for God, that wouldn’t be good news. But it is about what God has done for man.
In Romans 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth... For therein is the righteousness of God revealed.” The book of Romans is about salvation. Salvation is comprised of three parts: the righteousness of God is justification. That is our salvation past. The glory of God is glorification. That is our salvation future. That is found in Romans 5 through 11. And the will of God, sanctification, is salvation present. That is found in Romans 12 through 16. And today we are going to look at justification in Romans 1 through 4. So that is the division of the book.
Now believing in the gospel, directly results only in justification, that is, receiving the “righteousness of God”. The “righteousness of God” doesn’t mean that God is righteous. It means righteousness from God, just like the gospel is the gospel from God. So believing the gospel results in justification, but because of the way we are justified, justification always results in glorification and sanctification. So that is why the main proposition of the book of Romans is, “All who have been justified will be glorified, and all who have been justified are being sanctified, because of the way in which we are justified.” So the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation,” (Rom1:16) all three parts - justification, glorification and sanctification - because “therein is the righteousness of God” (Rom1:17), justification, revealed. And justification, in turn, results in the other two. That is the theme of the book of Romans.
But we are going to just focus on justification today. So in Romans 1:18 Paul begins - that was the introduction - Paul begins the four chapter division on justification.
The Ungodliness and Unrighteousness of Men - Rom1:18-32
The first section here is the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. And Paul starts out in verse 18, “For the wrath of God...” How many of us would start our presentation of the good news of the gospel with the wrath of God? But, you know, if there is no wrath of God there is no need for the gospel. And the wrath of God is the biggest problem that every person that comes into this world faces. It is not our finances. It is not our health. It is not our social life, it is how are you going to deal with the wrath of God?
Why doesn’t God just stop being angry? That would solve the whole thing, right? Well, he is angry because he is a just judge. He is angry at—as it says here—“against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Rom1:18.
You notice that the order is ungodliness and unrighteousness. The order is important because ungodliness leads to unrighteousness. You can’t have morality apart from godliness.
What is ungodliness? Romans 1:21, “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” Failing to acknowledge the Creator, failing to be appreciative of his gifts, that is all it takes to be ungodly. And that leads to unrighteousness.
Because men are ungodly, God has allowed us to become thoroughly unrighteous as a judgment upon us, upon our ungodliness. Our bodies are affected in 1:24. “Wherefore God also gave them up... to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” Our souls are affected in Romans 1:26. “God gave them up unto vile affections” and emotions. Our spirits are affected in Romans 1:28. “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” Thoroughly ungodly and unrighteous; thoroughly unrighteous because of our ungodliness.