Well we are getting close to completing the challenge of reading our entire Bible this summer! Some of you have already finished, I hear so way to go!
Today I am going to focus just a bit on the Book of Romans. The entire book is dedicated to Paul's theology of the Righteousness of God over and against the unrighteousness of man. In the letter he exhorts the church in Rome to preach the Gospel rightly divided between law and gospel. It is this little hook, law and gospel, that launched the reformation and continues to inspire churches in their evangelistic endeavors to this day.
We live lives under the law. Follow the rules and you will not get in trouble. When we mistakenly bring this line of thinking into what Christ did for us we miss the point of the death and resurrection completely. It is because we cannot follow the law, for instance the Ten Commandments, that God sent his son to fulfil the law on our behalf. This now frees us to live new lives in him. And so we go about our lives ministering to the needs of others and proclaiming that good news not because we have to but because we can.
So the first four chapters of Romans center on God's righteous judgement. We are not the judge, God is. And God has already judged mankind and found us to be lost and hopeless. The birth of Jesus Christ, that we celebrate on Christmas, is actually a judgement day for us! Could we make our way back to being right with God on our own? God determined the answer to be, "no". And so he sent his only begotten Son to get us back.
And so our righteousness is not counted to us by the number of rules we follow but by another important reformation phrase, "faith alone". To those who believe in Christ comes the justification of the sinner... you and me.