February 22, 2018

Topic Day|Righteousness

The Right Source of Righteousness

Romans 3:21–23

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The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

In Context:

16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

The Right Source of Righteousness



Bio | Katie Hernandez

Hey there! My name is Katie Hernandez. My husband and I have been married for more than five years, and we have been attending Watermark Fort Worth for almost three years.

By day, I am a teacher. It is there that I am reminded constantly of how broken we are. Most days I have to cling to Jesus and His Word to keep my sanity. I learned this best from Watermark's Equipped Disciple ministry, even after believing in Jesus for 18 years. How to have a daily relationship with Christ and read His Word finally made sense to me!

Central Truth

Our own attempts toward righteousness will never be enough. Righteousness comes only from God through Jesus; there is nothing we can add to or take away from it. It stands perfectly complete because Jesus did what we could never do—live an incomparably righteous life.

Devotional | Righteousness

Romans was the first book I read after learning to study my Bible in Equipped Disciple at Watermark. I remember I kept circling righteous(ness). I realized I didn't fully understand righteousness...

Romans was the first book I read after learning to study my Bible in Equipped Disciple at Watermark. I remember I kept circling righteous(ness). I realized I didn't fully understand righteousness and was trying to make it on my own merit.

I believe our journey through Romans thus far has led to these three verses. Paul just spent the first part of his letter explaining how not a single one of us measures up to God's standard. If the book ended at Romans 3:20, it would be an incredibly depressing and incomplete read. Thankfully, Paul is just getting started. Here, he drops the mic on those who claim they can be righteous on their own. He's purposely led up to this moment to talk about the righteousness of God. He also reminds us that all of Scripture was a loud and obvious crescendo leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the exact occasion by which it became possible for us to be righteous.

Righteousness is defined as the state of being in the right. When it comes to having good standing with God, there can be nothing in the "wrong" column. The Old Testament Law was put in place to show us what absolute perfection would look like and to be a reminder that we need God.

If I just consider that thought quickly (that I'm not good enough), my pride wants to say otherwise. But if I meditate on the truth of these verses, I am reminded of how terribly broken and sinful I am, and yet how incredibly whole I'm made in Jesus. It is impossible for us to be righteous, no matter who we are, how we were raised, or where we are from. And that is some of the best news you will ever hear. No matter how good or unworthy you think you are, being righteous is only possible through faith in Jesus. Come as you are. God asks you to change nothing. He will transform your dirty rags of sin and shame into white robes of righteousness. Through Jesus, we're made clean!

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Discussion Questions

1. Is there anything in your life that is holding you back from believing that God's righteousness truly dwells in you, whether you struggle with pride about your "righteousness" or shame over your unrighteousness? What steps can you take today to walk in the truth and freedom of these verses from Romans? 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 would be a great place to start to find truth.

2. This gift of righteousness is available to everyone. Can you think of someone who needs to be told about the amazing story of the gospel? Or maybe even someone who just needs to be reminded of this truth? Pray for that person by name, and try to find time this week to reach out to them. Be bold. You have great news to share!

3. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Paul has just described how no one, not even the chosen nation of Israel, could ever reach perfection. Yet Jesus, perfect in every way, took our sin on Himself and gave us righteousness in return. In light of what you've read today, what does this verse mean to you? How might your prayers reflect your thoughts of His gift of righteousness?

12 Comments available

Alison Williams 9 months ago

Thank you Hugh for sharings the ACTS prayer method.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

Come as you are. God loves you just as you are but He love you too much to leave you as you are.

Jennifer Borgne 9 months ago
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Hugh, really appreciate your comments. The chasm is wide and not easily ignored in light of these passages. My self righteousness is ghastly and gross to behold; and pride tries it’s best to hide, masking itself as worthy in all the “do-ing” I busy myself with each day. Especially adore the final para that includes your friend mentioning/asking “HOW GOOD do you think you have to be?” The pressure is nearly unbearable: The desire to fix all the broken that bombards and permeates the world. Yet Christ asks that I be responsible for none of it. It’s Freedom from the burden He offers. Isa 55:1 says “WAIT and listen, Everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self surrender that except the blessing].” AMP

Hope Harris 9 months ago

excellent devo Katie. Verse 22 holds a key promise that if I place my faith in God then and only then do I stand right before Him,

Denise Hubbard 9 months ago

Katie, you must be a very good teacher because your devo this morning explained Righteousness beautifully! Proverbs 14:12 reminds us that we think we know what is right, but it leads to death. Only God’s way leads to life…nothing more, nothing less than faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rita Satagaj 9 months ago
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Love the mic drop comment. Oh so thankful Paul points out so eloquently we can never be good enough but there is a way!

Sue Bohlin 9 months ago

Katie, I loved that you closed your devo with this, “He will transform your dirty rags of sin and shame into white robes of righteousness.” When I saw that today is a topic day, I immediately went to my two mental images of righteousness. One is a gleaming white robe that Jesus has given to replace our (default) stinky, yucky, dirty garment of unrighteousness. The other is the blessing of standing upright, hands raised in worship, no longer bent over by sin and corruption. I pulled that image into one of my calligraphy pieces: http://suebohlin.com/images/jude-sm.jpg

John Sherman 9 months ago

If God ever had a problem (He didn’t), it might have been this: How can God declare us sinners righteous and remain righteous Himself, as it is an abomination to the Lord to justify the wicked (Prov 17:15), and He refuses to do so (Exodus 23:7)? Romans 3:21-26, which is one sentence in the Greek text, begins to answer this question. In this passage the righteousness of God is mentioned four times.

I don’t know but here is one possibility to ponder. When we died with Christ and were raised with Him to new life, the old passed away, behold all is new (2 Cor 5:17). When God gave us new birth (regeneration), He made our new man righteous (2 Cor 5:21). Our unrighteous old man died with Christ. Once God made us righteous He could declare us to be righteous, and be righteous in declaring us so.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

Righteousness apart from law, is attested to by the prophets. Jer 23:6, Jer 33:16, Is 61:10, Is 42:6

Is 53:11 “the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous” Now that should remind us of Is 51:1-3 and Gen 15:6

Righteousness apart from law, is attested to by the law. The law is good and shows in some sense heavenly realities and the law provides for a king - King Jesus. The ark? made of both precious materials like gold and silver but also ordinary woods, goat hair and such speaks of Jesus as both divine and human.

The law is heavy, too heavy for us. It does shows God’s righteous character but also shows our shortcomings Deut 30:6, Deut 18:15

Book of Hebrews refers to Psalms quotations broadly as ‘the law speaking’ several times so lets also add Ps 22:31

Christopher Hyland 9 months ago

Good Morning Love what you said about a mic drop moment. Paul definitely does that here. I was reflecting how he just spent almost 3 chapters detailing our depravity and hopelessness before God and then in one verse manages to say…hey - remember the entirety of God’s word - the law, the prophets the psalms, proverbs…all of it. Every time it talks about righteousness or holiness or goodness, or justice…all of it…it is now no longer a theoretical, abstract concept. It has been revealed in Christ. He is is visible image of the invisible God - He is righteousness and justice and holiness and peace and goodness…and love. And all these attributes of God he freely gives to those who believe!

Lindsey Driscoll 9 months ago

Katie, great devo. I love the way you worded this “all of Scripture was a loud and obvious crescendo leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus.” An incredible reminder that the law and the Old Testament points to Christ. Q3- My prayers can reflect his rightesnouss today in thanksgiving and praise.

Hugh Stephenson 9 months ago

I am reflecting today on how Greek defines righteousness. The word is dikaiosynē; (Paraphrasing): equity (of character or act); being as I ought to be, the condition acceptable to God, integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.

Clarity comes as the prior passages wash over me. I reflect on my shortfall. My daily confession in my ACTS prayer method reinforces the chasm. Every day, my life stands in stark relief to His.

Partially, these passages explain God to me. So far, they mostly explain it by showing me how far I am from Him.

A friend of mine often asks people the salvation questions and they usually respond, “because I have tried to be good”. Then he leans in and says, “How good do you think we have to be?”

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