Here is the second in this series, I am not ashamed of the gospel, but what is it exactly. You can read the first one here, but I would suggest you do so after reading this. I am going to use a different version in each one of these for the sake of allowing you to see the subtle differences in translation. The first was the HCSB, and now I have used the NASB. These are a couple of my favorite translations, but most are good.
In this particular post, I want to focus our attention on the phrase from verse 17, "for in it the righteousness of God is revealed." I think the "righteousness of God" has at least two meanings in this passage. The first meaning that I will look at is God's justice or the justness of God, and the second meaning is a quality that allows one to stand righteous before God, guiltless and righteous. Paul uses the term in both ways off and on through-out the epistle to the Romans, and I believe that he uses it that way in all of this epistles. The context determines which use is appropriate and I would like to further suggest, to broaden our understanding that both meanings are inextricably linked.
First off, God is completely just in his dealings with mankind. The gospel proves it, and is the vehicle with which God meets out his justice to humanity. Secondly, and equally as important, being just, He has through Christ Jesus, that is, through the resurrection from the dead, reinstated his first claim about humanity after creating male and female (Gen 1:31.) Through the gospel he has declared that humanity is very good. That is why, when one apprehends the gospel by faith they are adjudicated righteous. I believe that the truth of the matter is that in Christ, the whole world was declared very good, righteous, but we only apprehend it during our days here on planet earth by faith.
This is why it is from faith to faith. Yes, in some translations it states from faith for faith but I guess both are correct. Here is what I believe Paul meant by the phrase from faith to faith. I will expand on this in the third post which is to come, but I must mention it here to help increase understanding of what the gospel actually is. Jesus alone had perfect faith. His faith, that God was His Father; that He was from God; that God was willing to forgive and save; that he could bring peace with God to all; that He was setting to rights what had been lost in the fall... He had faith in all of the above and more I have not mentioned or thought of for that matter.
If the first Adam brought death through unbelief, then it only follows that the *LAST ADAM* would reinstate life from belief. So then, two things are accomplished by this gospel. (1) God is justified and shows his justice by providing a way of escaping the fall, and (2) through the resurrection from the dead, God has proven that Jesus is righteous for his faith. Everyone can then apprehend His faith by faith. It is really quite simple. The gospel is simple. We will see this more and more as this series progresses, stay tuned!