Thursday, June 17, 2010

GIG 245 - The Gospel is About God's Righteousness, Not Man's

After starting to talk about what "the gospel" is in the first half of Romans 1 (the revealing of God's righteousness), Paul backtracks for two chapters until picking back up again on his talk about God's righteousness in the second half of Romans 3.  Paul talks about the wrath of God and he mentions various behaviors that are symptoms of "all of the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men."  During all of this, Paul talks about things that are not part of the gospel.  So often we confuse all his words as pertaining to the New Covenant (to the gospel), but here we have a case in which he purposely backtracks to he can better set up what he's trying to say.

All this talk about God's wrath and about sinful behaviors and judging one another has nothing to do with the actual gospel, but Paul brings all of it up to show how the gospel cannot be about the righteousness of man.  Man's righteousness falls very short of God's righteousness.  ALL have sinned and fallen short of God's glory.  That's Paul's big point, before he gets back to talking about the gospel in the middle of Romans 3.  Again, the gospel cannot be about man's righteousness.  It's all about the gift of God's righteousness that He freely gives.


  1. Romans 1:18. "Is being revealed" is God's answer to those who assert that the Old Testament presents a God of wrath, while the New Testament presents a God of love. There is a continuous revelation of the wrath of God in both the Old and New Tesaments. He changes not. God is merciful, not because He is lenient with the sinner, but because Christ died. The gospel has not changed God's attitude toward sin. The gospel has made it possible to accept the sinner. The sinner must have either the righteousness or the wrath of God. Both are revealed from heaven.

  2. Joel, you've made a wonderful point and it really goes to show how important it is to read the scripture in context.

    You've said it so well - sin and wrath aren't the gospel, for they are bad news, not good news! The gospel is Good News - that God's righteousness is given to man! Now that is perfect righteousness - what a gift to be made right and perfectly fit to be in relationship with Him!


  3. Bibl1774,

    As I read all of Paul's letter to the Romans, and looking at his overall points, and "backtracking" (as I call it) in Romans 1:18 through 3:20, I don't think he's making a case for ongoing wrath of God. Rather, I see him making a case for the reason why God's wrath was an issue (the unrighteousness and ungodliness of all of mankind), and then using that to lead up to the revelation of the righteousness of God that is given freely as a gift.

    "The wrath of God is revealed," to me (again, in the context of the whole epistle, and more specifically chapters 1 through 3) means that a case needed to be made for the wrath of God to show why the gift of His righteousness was needed. If there is any continuing wrath of God, that's not what Paul is talking about here. If anyone is under God's wrath, it's not because of their sin. It's because of their unbelief in the gift.


    Indeed, the gospel is good news! What a great message for God to have sent Paul out to preach, eh! :) Paul's writings can seem complicated or contradictory at times, but when looked at in context, I think he's generally pretty easy to understand and to look to for great explanations of the good news.