And now he comes to clearly define exactly what is that righteousness of God which is revealed from faith to faith: it is “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ…”  It is the righteousness of God, because it is the righteousness of Christ, Who is both God and man.  This will become perfectly clear in the 5th chapter, where the apostle will tell us that it is by the obedience of one man, Jesus Christ, that the many are made, or accounted, righteous.  But the extraordinary thing which Paul declares to us here in the 22nd verse is that the righteousness which gives us a title to heaven, and places us in the favor of the just God of heaven and earth, is the very righteousness of God.  To the Corinthians he wrote that God made Christ to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  In other words, our sins were imputed to Christ, and He suffered for them; then His righteousness was imputed to us, and we receive the reward of His righteousness, as if we had lived the blameless and holy life that Jesus did.  Surely this Gospel is no invention of the human mind!  God Himself left the courts of glory to become a man, to live under the law in the form of a servant, to perform all the acts of righteousness which a human being ought to perform, not for Himself, but to give to others.  This is that robe of righteousness which Isaiah spoke of.  This is why the Lord Christ is “the Lord our righteousness,” as Jeremiah calls Him.  This is the beauty of the Lord our God which is upon all those who believe.

And belief in Christ is the only method by which we may apprehend this saving righteousness.  Certainly, a man in his right mind, when he understands that a saving righteousness may be had as a free gift from a gracious God, should immediately begin to inquire as to how he can come into possession of it.  Paul tells us here: “by faith of Jesus Christ…”  This means that the righteousness of God which is given to sinners comes into their possession only when they exercise faith in the Son of God.  This explains to us why those who believe in the Son have life, and those who believe not the Son have not life, but abide under the wrath of God.  How can we be in any state except under God’s wrath, when we have nothing on our record except all of our sin and uncleanness?  Only by believing in this Saviour that God has appointed and provided may we pass from death unto life, departing from a state of condemnation into a state of acceptance and adoption.  This saving righteousness if the possession of all who believe, no matter who they are, no matter what their background, no matter how foul their sins.  Charles Wesley said nothing but the truth when he penned the line, “His blood can make the foulest clean…”  Augustus Toplady solemnized this Gospel in one of his hymns in the line, “In Thee we have a righteousness by God Himself approved…”  At the end of that same stanza he explains, “The law Thou perfectly obeyed that they might enter heaven.”  What is this but the glorious message which Paul is describing to the Romans?  Those who believe on Christ become possessors of the very righteousness of God.  Surely, God will not cast away a sinner coming to Him clothed in His own righteousness!  Why should anyone deny this Gospel, and fight against it, except that through pride they wish at least some fraction of their acceptance with God to be based upon their own doings?

The line “for there is no difference” brings us back to the thought that Paul is seeking to demonstrate that Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same manner; namely, by apprehending the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  The “no difference” means that there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile when it comes to this method of salvation.

 

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