Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
Romans 1:17 (NLT)
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
The key phrase in this verse is “how God makes us right in his sight.” Literally it reads, “the righteousness of God.” This key phrase appears eight times in Romans (the only other occurrence in Paul’s writings is 2 Cor 5:21). The phrase makes us right comes from the law court. It does not mean “makes us good people”; it means “puts us in right standing before God.” Paul is trying to make the point that we cannot do anything to earn salvation. We cannot be good enough, kind enough, living enough to earn God’s favor. The only thing that we can do is accept what he has already done for through Christ at the cross. He then goes on to explain how this happens, “This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.” We refer to this as “justification my faith alone.” We can never rely on anything we have done, or could do in the future, we are totally dependent upon the grace of God. This was one of Martin Luther’s biggest struggles and a key component to the reformation. He said, “I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. There upon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.” It is this understanding that separates Christianity from any other religion in the world. All other religions are about people trying to be holy enough for God, which we’ve already said doesn’t work, but with Jesus he has already done to work for us!