Are there people who do not, while pursuing their own righteousness, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? The Scripture says that such people, by not believing in the righteousness of God and instead pursuing their own righteousness, are those who turn against God. What will these people do?
Did God plan to give all of humanity His salvation, which is the righteousness of God, and send Jesus Christ through the Israelites? Of course He did! Jesus so dearly wanted to save every sinner from his/her sins that He came to this earth, was crucified on the Cross, and was resurrected from death. He came, in other words, to save all those who believe in Him.
God the Father sent Jesus Christ to the Israelites to save them from their sins, and yet the Israelites did not receive Jesus, the righteousness of God. Instead, they were obsessed with the pursuits of their own righteousness. Even still, they are unable to accept Him as the Messiah of their people and the Savior of their souls.
Paul said that there are those who are sent by God, and that it is through them that the beautiful gospel can be heard. The gospel heard from the servants of God sent by Him is the gospel that has the righteousness of God. You cannot miss this chance. Only by hearing this gospel of the water and the Spirit, preached by the servants of God who know and believe in His righteousness, can you believe that God has given you the remission of sins and His righteousness.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the best and the most beautiful news in the world. It is this good and beautiful news that has saved sinners from their sins. This beautiful news replenishes people’s souls because the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by God is the true food for souls.
In the beautiful gospel of redemption provided by God is the power to forgive everyone’s sins. The gospel of the water and the Spirit has the power of blessing to give us peace in our minds by the remission of our sins.
Centered on the law of God, the Israelites were busy pursuing their own righteousness. Because they thought that their own righteousness was abundant with their obedience to the law, they did not receive Jesus as their Savior. They were so eager in their pursuit of the works of the law that they could not even tolerate the righteousness of God. They failed to receive the Lord as their Savior even now, trying to pursue their own righteousness.
Does the Scripture tell us that the Israelites turned against the righteousness of God to establish their own righteousness? Speaking of the Israelites who were obsessed with the law, Paul rebuked their faiths by saying, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
A legalistic faith that pursues one’s own righteousness is not the right faith before God. While the Israelites were preoccupied only with following the laws of the Old Testament, they failed to realize that Jesus, who became the righteousness of God, was to be their Savior, and instead turned against Him. In their zeal to boast that they were the chosen people to whom the Word of God was given and who were to follow it, the Israelites ended up as a nation who turned against the righteousness of God.
Are you obsessed with establishing your own righteousness?
The problem with the Israelites’ zeal for the law was that their passions were in establishing their own righteousness. Because of their own righteousness, the righteousness of God established by our Lord was utterly ignored.
The result of the legalistic faith of the Israelites was that they ended up turning against the righteousness of God; thus, they still have not realized how irreversibly devastating this result has been. What good or benefits did their pursuit of the work of the law bring them? Their passions for following the Word of God only ended up as obstacles to knowing and believing in the righteousness of God. Once again, we must realize that the “zeal” of those who do not have the correct understanding of the law will only lead them to turn against the righteousness of God in the end.
The Scripture clearly tells us that, to everyone who believes, Jesus became the end of the law for righteousness. Our Lord completed the righteousness of God by taking upon all the sins of the world with His baptism and bloodshed on the Cross, all to cleanse the sins of both the Israelites and the Gentiles. As such, the gospel of the water and the Spirit that contains the righteousness of God, not the law, has become an oasis in the desert for all sinners. It is the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has blotted out our sins and provided us with true sanction. How else but by the gospel of the water and the Spirit could all the sinners of the world find true sanction in their hearts?
Here in the Book of Romans, Paul tells us that establishing one’s own righteousness without believing in the righteousness of God is a grave sin. What kind of gospel would have been a beautiful gospel to us, the Gentiles? It is the gospel that has told us that our Lord Jesus took up all the sins of the world with His baptism.
This gospel is the gospel recorded in Matthew 3:13-17, which bears witness to Jesus taking up the world’s sins: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” This is how Jesus took upon all the sins of the world on Himself with His baptism by John.
Paul rebuked the legalists who did not believe in the righteousness of God by asking, “Who will ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above).” Put differently, this question asks, “Who can be saved from his/her sins by only following the law?” The purpose of Paul’s question was to underscore the point that following the law will never bring about salvation from sin. He is telling us, in other words, that there is nothing that we can do to rid ourselves of sin.
Paul often spoke of God’s righteousness in his epistles. Paul’s answer to true faith is found in Romans 10:10, where it is said, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The gospel preached by Paul was the gospel that tells us that we can receive God’s righteousness by believing in our Lord’s baptism and His blood on the Cross, through which this righteousness of God is revealed. We must believe that the Lord gave us the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that He allowed those who believe in this gospel a true peace of mind.
True faith comes from hearing the Word of God
What does Paul tell us about true faith? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” True faith, in other words, comes when we hear the gospel that His servants, through whom God speaks, preach with His Word.
Our conviction of true faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and so to be the people of true faith, we must hear and believe in His Word. Only by hearing the Word of God can we have true faiths and only by this can our faiths grow. This is why God has sent us His servants, who preach of His righteousness.
When we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given to mankind by God, we can receive the remission of sins and be at rest in our hearts. Deliverance from sin is possible only by believing in the righteousness of God, from which we will find our peace of mind.
Have we not been told that the righteousness of our Lord will wipe away our tears and deliver us from all our aches and pains? Of course we have. By believing in the righteousness of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by God, all our pains will be taken away. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the most beautiful news in the world and the fulfillment of God’s righteousness.
God sent our Lord, who fulfilled His righteousness, to the Israelites, but in pursuing their own righteousness, they refused to turn to Him. What, then, did God do? To provoke the Israelites to jealousy, God gave the gospel, the fulfillment of His righteousness, to the Gentiles to believe. Did God, then, allow the Gentiles the chance to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Indeed, He gave them the chance to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even when they neither sought Him, nor called Him, and worshipped Him far less than the Israelites.
This is why the Gentiles were able to become God’s children-by believing in the beautiful news of the fulfillment of His righteousness. This is also why the Scripture tells us that the righteousness of God was revered and glorified outside of Israel.
How many people actually thank the Lord for giving all of us the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has fulfilled the righteousness of God? Our Lord has taken away all the sins of the world with the beautiful gospel of the water and the Spirit. Yet, there are far too many Christians who do not believe in this truth. Do we, then, have any righteousness in us that we can set before God? No, we don’t! Then, why don’t we believe? Is it because we do not know what the gospel that has fulfilled the righteousness of God is? But knowing this gospel is simple!
We, too, are the kinds of people who would have pursued our own righteousness, just as the Israelites had done, but God saved us from all our sins by giving us the beautiful gospel of the water and the Spirit. We thank the Lord for giving us the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the fulfillment of the righteousness of God, for us to believe.
Do not say, “Who will ascend into heaven?”
Verse 6 says, “But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (That is, to bring Christ down from above).” Both our redemption and our serving the gospel of truth are made possible by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, not by our works. Were it not for our faith in the truth that fulfilled the righteousness of God, we would have been nothing but sinners who, as legalists pursuing their own righteousness, only bothered God.
Just as our salvation came by believing in the righteousness of God, we can also live for our Lord by having faith in this righteousness. The strength for us to carry on with our lives comes from our faith in God's righteousness, as our knowledge of this righteousness arose by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Is there any truth other than the faith in the righteousness of God for those who are to be redeemed? There is none. The essence of Christianity is centered on faith, and it is no exaggeration to say that the righteousness of God is all about Christian faith. Those who have become justified can live and preach the gospel by their faiths in this righteousness. Do those who believe in God’s righteousness, then, face troubles as well? They do. But by the faith in God’s righteousness, they can overcome all troubles, as they believe and trust that God will take care of their problems. Such beliefs originate from the faith in the righteousness of God.
What about other faiths that don’t include God’s righteousness? Are they all the wrong kinds of faiths, based on human deeds? Indeed, they are. The faiths of those who believe in Jesus, without believing in the righteousness of God, are not true faiths.
Could you and I be redeemed from our sins without first believing in God’s righteousness? Could we live by our faiths in God without having faith in His righteousness? Neither would be possible. The strength of the righteous to serve the Lord comes from the power of the Holy Spirit, given to them as a gift for their faith in God’s righteousness. Can you live in this world with only your own strengths or your earthly possessions? Can you really find a peace of mind with these things?
We can serve the gospel in peace by believing in the righteousness of God. Those who serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit have faith, courage, strength and peace. The righteous people who do not serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the fulfillment of the righteousness of God, have neither peace nor courage. Do the minds of the righteous need peace? They do. They need peace not only to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but also to live their lives to the fullest extent.
Is your mind at peace? If you were to live only for yourself, there would be no reason for the peace in your mind to grow. Why would you need any more peace or faith when you only need to meet the needs of the flesh to live in the flesh? But if you are to serve God, the peace in your mind also needs to grow. To serve the gospel that has fulfilled the righteousness of God, your faith and peace must and will grow.
Those who believe in the gospel of God’s righteousness are responsible for spreading their peace all around the world. Because this is not an issue of just individual concerns, but of the need to spread the peace of mind given by Jesus Christ to everyone, we need to preach the gospel of God’s righteousness to the entire world. God’s peace is still needed for others, as well as for us. We need more requests from God in trying to spread this peace to others. When we live to spread God’s righteousness, our peace of mind will only grow, and we will find the clear and precious goal of our lives.
If you want to learn the true peace given by God, you need to know and believe in the gospel that has fulfilled His righteousness. You need to experience for yourself the peace of mind that God has prepared for you.
You have served the Lord well so far, but you need to continue to serve Him well, until you are called to His presence, so that others may share in your peace. When you reach for peace with your faith in the righteousness of God, those believers who are following in your footsteps to redemption can also live for the peace of others.
Those who are young in their faiths are novices in the realm of faith and are limited in their abilities to understand it. But when we live by our faiths, those behind us will, though it may take some time, eventually come to an understanding of how the redeemed live their lives in peace, by following in our footsteps of faith.
Do you find it difficult to teach those who are following your lead how to live by faith? Such a life of teaching is not reached overnight. It might even take a very long time before you can lead them to the kind of faith needed for living in peace. But in time, those who have been redeemed by believing in God’s righteousness will eventually learn to live in peace as the people of faith, just as the earlier believers serving God found their peace of minds from Him, by learning from those of us who are ahead.
You and I, we must all live by faith in the righteousness of God. The righteous must live by their faiths in the Word. Both our present and future lives must be determined by faith. The Scripture asks us, “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Because we believe in the righteousness of God, we must preach the gospel to the world. By faith, we can meet all the challenges that we may face while spreading the gospel.
The lives of the righteous that are not lived by faith are those who have lost their peace of minds. Believing in God’s righteousness allows people to attain their peace of minds. When we believe in the Word of God and His righteousness for all things, we will be given our peace.
You must stand firmly in your peace and faith by believing in the righteousness of God. You must also praise God, for the Lord has allowed you to live by the deliverance of His righteousness and peace. May you live your life by preaching the gospel, with faith in God, from whom you have received your peace.
Have we been able to learn from the Book of Romans how perfect the righteousness of God is? Romans explains in detail what this righteousness of God is. The righteousness of God that we speak of is not that of man-made righteousness, but of God, Himself alone.
The righteousness of God is perfect and more than sufficient to save us from all our sins. By taking upon all the sins of the world through His baptism, Jesus took care of them all, in perfection. That we can believe in Jesus Christ is due to the fact that the righteousness of God is perfect. Since this righteousness of God wholly saved us from all our sins, it is absolutely necessary for us to believe in the gospel that has fulfilled His righteousness.
By believing in God’s righteousness, we can live our lives admiring, thanking, and praising it. People can dwell in the holiness of God only by believing in His righteousness. By believing in this righteousness, our minds are cleansed, we can praise God, and our lives can be lived for His glory.
Had the righteousness of God not been perfect, we would not have been able to be delivered from our sins. Though our original sin may have been forgiven by believing in Jesus, every sin committed daily on our own thereafter would have required daily prayers of repentance.
But after we were redeemed by believing in the righteousness of God, revealed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we could then realize that this righteousness of God was absolute. This is why I came to be infinitely grateful for the fact that the righteousness of God is believable and perfect for eternity. Because God's righteousness has delivered us from all the possible sins that we could commit in our lifetimes, we can be saved from sin by believing in His righteousness.
Those who do not compare the righteousness of God with our human filth cannot believe in His righteousness because they simply don’t realize just how big it is. Even the most perfect person is nothing when compared to the righteousness of God, and this is why we believe in His righteousness, and are thereby allowed to dwell in His holiness. We become, in other words, those who glorify God by believing and dwelling in His righteousness.
We need to have a correct understanding of the righteousness of God in our hearts-that is, we must realize that the righteousness of God has wholly and completely delivered us from our sins. Do we not commit innumerable sins throughout our lives? How, then, did God carry out the righteous act that has delivered us from such countless sins? He accomplished it by coming to this earth in the likeness of our flesh, taking up all our sins by being baptized by John, dying on the Cross, and resurrecting from death–by fulfilling, in short, all the righteousness of God.
Everyone, young and old, rich and poor, strong and weak, commit sins. Who, then, saved us from all these sins of the world? It was Jesus Christ who, by fulfilling the righteousness of God, delivered us from all our sins. That God sent Jesus to wholly take upon all our sins and to completely eliminate them is the very righteousness of God.
Nothing other than this is precisely the righteousness of God that has saved us from all our sins. God’s righteousness has delivered us from all the sins of the world at once. Is not His righteousness utterly and completely perfect? We call this love that God has given us, which will last not only for our lifetime but also throughout eternity, the righteousness of God.
As John the Baptist proclaimed when he saw Jesus the day after baptizing Him, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” As Jesus told John when he first refused to baptize Him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). What do these passages mean? They mean no less than the truth that Jesus’ baptism and His death on the Cross are the very righteousness of God. This righteousness of God does not abandon us when we are weak and come short of His glory.
We can only praise God and glorify Him for this abundant love that has saved us and allowed us to dwell in His righteousness. Those who believe in the righteousness of God come to live for His righteousness for the rest of their lives. It is much better for us to trust in God than in human beings or the world. A beautiful life is a life that preaches this gospel of complete deliverance from sin. This is why we absolutely must know and believe in the righteousness of God.
Those who have received the remission of sins would testify, “Jesus has taken away all my sins by being baptized by John! And He was judged in my place for all the sins of the world!” When we believe in God’s righteousness, we can only thank Him for such blessings.
When you stumble because of your weaknesses, fall into sin because of the flesh, or when you are discouraged and embarrassed because of your sins, look toward the righteousness of God that has made you whole. Did not the righteousness of God also make us righteous? Did not Jesus completely take away our sins through His baptism? Did not His redemption save us from all our sins, including those sins we’ll commit in the future?
Only when we believe that Jesus Christ has saved us completely and wholly do we believe in the righteousness of God. Only when we believe in the righteousness of God do we become justified. Those who believe in God’s righteousness can become the instruments for His righteousness. The perfection of God’s righteousness is complete. Those who pursue their own righteousness, while being ignorant of the righteousness of God, are only fools sitting on their own destruction, to be accursed by God.
Pay attention to Paul’s saying, “They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”
How can we live a life of faith, be redeemed, and become God’s people if we remain ignorant of His righteousness? Those who follow the law must know that their sins will lead to their destruction and be thankful that the righteousness of God has saved them completely. That Jesus has become our Savior, that we believe in Him, and that we glorify Him are because we know and believe in the righteousness of God. Only by believing in His righteousness do we become His children, sinless, and receive eternal lives. Those who profess to believe in Jesus and live faithful lives yet remain ignorant of the righteousness of God are to be accursed.
Paul bore witness in Romans that the Israelites, while being ignorant of the righteousness of God, sought to establish their own righteousness, and by doing so, disobeyed God’s righteousness. They too must believe in the righteousness of God.
We must believe that God has delivered us from the sins of the world. All our sins are included in these sins of the world. All of them have disappeared with the fulfillment of the righteousness of God. Do you believe in this truth?
“For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes”
The righteousness of God is the end of the law. The reason is because Jesus Christ answered all the requirements of the law by taking upon all the sins of the world with His baptism and crucifixion.
Surely the result of sin is death, yet it is written that the righteousness of God is the end of the law. Why? This is because God the Father has saved us wholly by sending His only begotten Son to the earth to be baptized to take up all the sins of mankind, die on the Cross, and be raised from death.
Believing in the righteousness of God with your heart and following the righteousness of the law are two different things. Did you receive the remission of sins by your deeds? Did you receive your salvation by your own good deeds? All other religions in this world teach that the way to deal with your sins is by doing good deeds. The Buddhist understanding of sin, for instance, teaches that you can redeem the sins of your past life by doing good deeds in your present life. Does this make any sense to you?
A person is born only once and dies only once, and judgment will come afterward. Because everyone is born in this world only once and returns to God thereafter, no one can return to the earth in another cycle of life. This is why people must be redeemed by believing in God’s righteousness while on this earth. What kind of nonsense is this Buddhist teaching of karma?
Believing that we are redeemed from our sins is to believe in the righteousness of God. Believing in the righteousness of God is to believe only in His righteousness alone, not in our own acts. How, then, does God’s righteousness of faith speak? As is recorded in the Book of Romans, it speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven?” This is because the righteousness of God is found by believing in one’s heart, not by some kind of physical strength.
We become God’s children and sinless people who receive eternal lives by believing in the righteousness of God. Because we cannot resolve our sins by ourselves, no matter how many good deeds we do, our efforts only end up as more sins before God. This is why we should abandon such faiths in ourselves and believe instead in the righteous God to pursue His righteousness. Some people ask, “Can we not be saved just by believing in Jesus even if we are ignorant of God’s righteousness? Is it not written that whosoever called the name of the Lord will be saved?” But salvation does not come just by calling on the name of Jesus, but by knowing and completely believing in the righteousness of God.
Whoever believes in the righteousness of God has no shame
Verse 11 says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” What is the meaning of this passage? Whoever believes on Him is not put to shame because he/she believes in the righteousness of God. “Whoever believes on Him” refers to the believer in His righteousness.
What about the passage, “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”? This means that those who know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit call on Jesus, as they believe in Him as the Savior God. As we received our salvation through God’s righteousness, we believe that our redemption is given by believing in this truth.
Without this faith, in other words, no matter how many times we call the name of Jesus in vain, we will not be saved from our sins. Because the Scripture as a whole speaks of the righteousness of God in Jesus, calling on the name of the Lord alone will not give us our redemption.
The Bible tells us of the righteousness of God from the very beginning. As is written in the Book of Genesis, God put the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge. What God did was to demand from them their faith in His Word. God, to put it differently, told them to eat from the tree of life for obtaining eternal lives.
The Word of God says, “The just shall live by faith.” We, too, live by our faith in the righteousness of God throughout our lifetime—from when we first believed in Him to be saved to when we receive our salvation, and finally, until we reach the Kingdom of God.
Many Christians in this world say that salvation from sin is given by believing in Jesus, but in reality, too many of them are not delivered from their sins because they remain ignorant of the righteousness of God. What will result when people believe in Jesus without knowing the righteousness of God? Such people may show outward indications that they are devout believers through their worships and prayers. But because they are ignorant of God’s righteousness, they will remain only as practitioners of religion, as well as undelivered sinners.
Many from both the Christian community and the Israelis remain ignorant of the righteousness of God and are thus not obeying His righteousness. Those who believe in Jesus, yet do not believe in God’s righteousness, stamp on this very righteousness. It is not by doing good deeds, giving large offerings, or other acts of their own before God that the believers in Jesus, so long as they remain ignorant of the righteousness of God, receive this righteousness.
Those who believe in the righteousness of God believe in it, regardless of what circumstances they find themselves in, and thus live lives of praise and thanks for God’s glory. To those of us who believe in God’s righteousness, the more our shortcomings are revealed, the more His righteousness brilliantly shines before our souls. I pray that you too can have such an awakening.
Can we receive the righteousness of God because we somehow had some justness in our flesh? Of course not! There is nothing that is just in us, other than the righteousness of God. Because God has completely saved us from our sins with His righteousness, we believe and praise in this righteousness. His righteousness has saved us wholly from our sins.
Do not fall into the deed-oriented faith when you are facing dark corners in your life, but always believe in the righteousness of God, regardless of your circumstances. God’s righteousness is perfect for eternity. Everyone in this world must know His righteousness, and they must believe in it by obeying the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Since many who profess to have faith in Jesus still live only by the righteousness of the law, they must make sure that they know the righteousness of God.
Paul concludes by saying that the gospel of God fulfills His righteousness. Without the knowledge in the true gospel of God, no one can explain what His righteousness is. Such people might say, when asked to discuss what the meaning of the righteousness of God is, “Jesus is my Savior who died on the Cross, was raised from death, and saved me from my sins.” But they will add that they must offer prayers of repentance for their everyday sins, and that to become perfect, they must be sanctified incrementally.
You must know yourself first to know the righteousness of God. If you know both yourself and the righteousness of God, you will have no choice but to believe in His righteousness, because you would realize how high, big, and expansive the righteousness of God is when compared to yourself. But if you do not know His righteousness, you would be obsessed with pursuing your own righteousness. Those who are obsessed with their own righteousness do not obey the righteousness of God, as they only wish to pursue their own justifications.
We must know God’s righteousness before we can believe in it and give thanks for it. By knowing the righteousness of God, we can believe that Jesus took away all the sins of the world by taking them up on Himself with His baptism and dying on the Cross. If we can be justified by our own good deeds, we wouldn’t need salvation by the righteousness of God. But when we realize that this is not possible, we can appreciate His righteousness even more because God saved us, who could not live our lives based on good deeds.
Are your thoughts and deeds all good? Of course not. It is because we have many shortcomings that God has saved us wholly by His righteousness. Since believing in the righteousness of God saved us, we desire to preach His righteousness to all those in this world who do not know it.
One who does not know oneself finds faults with others and speaks ill of them. But if he/she were a believer in the righteousness of God, he/she must proudly proclaim this righteousness, and must not boast of his/her own righteousness. But those who do not believe in God’s righteousness commit the sin of slandering His righteousness. God will judge them for their sins.
God sent His Son to this earth and has given you His righteousness. As we approach the last day, we should not be arguing with each other over whose righteousness of the law is better or worse. Those who believe in the righteousness of God should not concern themselves with their flesh but should only be thankful to God by believing in His righteousness.
Let us thank our God who has wholly saved us by His righteousness. Because the righteousness of God has forgiven all your sins, you must not become like those who turn against God by pursuing their own righteousness.