But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested begins with a contrast between self-righteousness produced by keeping the Law and imputed righteousness from the justice of God. The Greek word for righteousness is “dikaionune,” which in this context means fair and equitable in dealing with others, virtue, integrity, justice as a characteristic of a judge and justice as the thinking of a judge. It also means the integrity of a judge. The word connotes not just righteousness but righteousness as a principle leading to action and thought: thinking something that is correct.
The integrity of God, both His righteousness and justice, is God’s alone. Man is entered into the relationship with it on the basis of the work of Christ on the Cross. The integrity of God always takes precedence in God’s dealings with mankind. Either the integrity of God condemns man or blesses man, depending on man’s attitude toward Jesus Christ. First there is condemnation from divine integrity and then there is salvation or justification for the one who will adjust to the justice of God by faith in Christ. So from the same source comes condemnation and vindication or justification. Manifested is the Greek word “phaneros,” which means to reveal, to make known or to show. The righteousness belonging to God’s integrity has been revealed.
Being witnessed by the Law and the prophets is the Greek word “martureo” for witnessed, which means to be a witness in a trial, to testify in a trail or to confirm facts in a trial. Every human author in the Old Testament was figuratively in court, giving testimony, presenting facts about the integrity of God. So the Old Testament Canon can be regarded as a great courtroom where the facts will be brought out.
The doctrine of the Word of God is the manifestation, the testimony and the revelation of God’s integrity. Doctrine, then, is the verbalizing of God’s integrity. God never reveals anything unless it is available. If God reveals His integrity it means two things: 1) this is our point of reference with God 2) we can have His integrity. We can have it in two forms: 1) His righteousness directly imputed to us at the moment we believe in Christ 2) the action of His justice blessing us as we develop the capacity to receive it.
Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. The words through faith of Jesus Christ tell us how we initially come into contact with the justice and righteousness of God. We enter into relationship with the integrity of God at the moment of salvation adjustment to the justice of God. Until then we are spiritually dead and have no relationship with God.
For there is no difference explains that all unbelievers, both Jews and Gentiles alike, those with the Law or without the Law, are all spiritually dead. So, whether Jew or Gentile, spiritual death belongs to all of us at birth. The Greek word for difference is “diastole,” which means distinction. It is used here for distinction between Jewish and Gentile unbelievers. They are all maladjusted to the justice of God and have no relationship with God.
For all have sinned refers to the fact that all members of the human race are born with a sin nature and express this fact through personal sin. The doctrine of Hamartiology is the study of the doctrine of sin.
Three Types of Sin
And fall short of the glory of God is the Greek word “hustereo” for fall short, which means to miss or to fail to reach, to be excluded from something, to come short of something or to fall short. The Greek word for glory is “doca” referring to the essence or attributes of God.
Being justified as a gift by His grace is the Greek verb “dikaioo” for justified, which means to treat as just, to justify, to vindicate, to make or declare righteous or to validate. The unbeliever at the moment he receives Christ as Saviour receives God’s perfect righteousness, one half of divine integrity. The Greek word for gift is “dorean,” which means gratuitously, without payment or freely. The Greek word for grace is “charis” meaning a favour bestowed, a benefit which is undeserved or unearned.
Through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus is the Greek word “apolutrosis” for redemption, which means to buy back slaves or captives, to free by paying a ransom for a slave or a captive. We have studied this concept under the doctrine of the Kinsman Redeemer. The Old Testament practice of the Kinsman Redeemer is the perfect example of how Christ redeems us from the Law and from sin. Certain requirements had to be met in order for a person to free someone from slavery. The redeemer had to be a relative, he had to be able to redeem by meeting the purchase price and he had to be willing to redeem the person in slavery.
The human birth of Jesus Christ assured that He would be a relative (kinsman) to all mankind. (John 1:1-3,14) In order to meet the purchase price, Christ had to be perfect (no sin of His own to pay for). He was born of a virgin, therefore, He had no sin nature and He lived a sinless life which qualified Him to meet the purchase price for our sin. (Matthew 1:23, I Timothy 3:16; Romans 5:8; II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 2:9-11, 4:15: I Peter 1:18) Christ was also willing to redeem us. He was obedient to the Father’s plan for salvation and gave His life freely. Christ even restricted the use of the power of His deity (doctrine of Kenosis) and used the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish all of this for us. (Philippians 2:5-8; Romans 5:19, Luke 22:42, 23:46)
Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation. The theological word propitiation means complete satisfaction. In other words, the righteousness of God was completed satisfied by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. The Cross, of course, is the public display.
In His blood through faith The prepositional phrase “in His blood” is out of place. The prepositional phrase belongs after the verb, rather than after “faith.” The Greek word for blood is “haima” and refers to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for the entire human race. Remember that the blood of Christ is a technical, theological term, which includes propitiation, redemption and reconciliation - the work of Christ in being judged.
Faith is emphasized as the mechanics of salvation since the mechanics of blessing from the justice of God is always grace. Any work that man can do subtracts from the efficacious (effective) work of Christ. Faith never subtracts from the efficacious work of Christ.
To demonstrate His righteousness is the Greek word “endeixis” for demonstrate, which means a showing forth or a pointing out. God cannot accept anything less than perfect righteousness, and God cannot bless anything less than perfect righteousness. This dramatizes the importance of the imputation of divine righteousness to the believer at the moment of salvation. The justice of God administers what the righteousness of God demands. Therefore justification must precede all other blessings from the justice of God.
Because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed. The justice of God held up judgment until Christ could die on the Cross. This means that there was a delay in the judgment of all the sins in the human race until Christ could be judged for them on the Cross. The Greek word for forbearance is “anoche,” which means a delay in punishment or clemency. The delay is not the same as overlooking sin. God never overlooks sin, but He did delay the punishment for sin until the Cross.
For demonstration of His righteousness at the present time refers to the Church Age. It is a crisis time because it is the time of the calling out of the Royal Family of God. God’s integrity which was consistent in the past continues to be consistent after the Cross. The justice of God which judged all of our sins and the sins of all of the past dispensations before the Cross will judge all of the sins of future dispensations. Hence, a demonstration of His perfect integrity continues into the present time of crisis.
That He might be just means that God’s justice is the number one priority in His relationship with mankind. Therefore, divine justice must be uncompromised in establishing a relationship with mankind. The Cross accomplishes this fact because the justice of God judged our sins (past, present and future) when they were poured out on Christ.
And the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus means the justice of God justifies the person who believes in Christ. The Greek word for justification is “dikaiosis’ and means to declare righteous or to be acquitted from guilt. At the moment of salvation, we are justified by God because His righteousness is credited to our account. The penalty for personal sins and Adam’s original sin was paid by Jesus Christ so that the believer’s debt is now paid in full. The obligation that God’s righteousness (the standard of God’s integrity) demanded, with regard to sin, was satisfied by the justice of God (the action of God’s integrity) at the Cross. (Romans 3:28, 5:1; Galatians 3:24)