17 October 2021: How can we be considered righteous by the perfect Holy God?

Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
17 October 2021

Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.


We have much to thank, praise, and worship the Lord for! At the end of this short service we will bring our prayer requests to the Lord for those who need our prayers at this time.


Andy got into a drunken argument one night resulting in the other person dying and him being sent to prison for murder with a life sentence. He reached a very low point in August 2006 and decided to take his own life because his situation was very bleak and hopeless.

He made a noose and was just about to hang himself when “a quiet voice spoke to me, ‘Just read that Bible’ (a New Testament and Psalms placed by ‘The Gideons’ – now known as ‘Good News For Everyone’). He started reading from Matthew’s Gospel and by the time he reached the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke, “my tears started to flow, my hopelessness disappeared and the wretchedness I suffered went. Most of all the idea I firmly believed that I was unworthy of forgiveness was taken from me. The angry, frightened desperate person I had become ceased to exist there and then. When Jesus’ words spoke of the brother who was ‘dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’ I was found indeed, I wept openly with joy. Suddenly I had hope!”

Andy – read in “Good News for Everyone” -formerly Gideons UK

“Vase capacity – How much of Him (the Lord) have we got? How much of us does He have? Do we desire Him; do we thirst after holiness? Do we submit to Him allowing Him to sculpture us into His likeness with His fragrance permeating all around us. Let us submit to Him so that we become vessels for noble purposes, vessels for His glory.”




Reading: Romans 1:1-17;

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.

Romans 1:17


The terms “righteousness” (33 times), “righteous” (7 times) and the verb, “to declare righteous” or “to justify” (15 times), are vital terms in Romans, such that they are at the centre of the main teachings in the book. Righteousness and justice come from the same word groups in both the Old (Hebrew) and New (Greek) Testaments. The meaning of righteousness in our text refers to God bringing people into a right legal relationship with Himself (a forensic term) and also refers to His effective work in transforming our lives into Christ-likeness through His powerful saving action in Christ. This week we will look at the first part, the forensic or legal part, of God bringing people into a right legal relationship with Himself, of people’s status before God.

(1) This legal aspect of righteousness is very clear:

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies [same word root as righteousness].

Romans 8:33

The NLT version:

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.

Romans 8:33 NLT

Here we are in God’s law court and He has pronounced the verdict which we receive by faith, “Not only are you ‘Not Guilty’, but I declare: ‘You are righteous’”.

(2) Repeatedly the Scriptures speak of ‘God’s gift of righteousness’ that is to be received by faith not by working for it, because it is a gift, e.g.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Rom. 5:17

Under Adam’s headship we were all guilty before God; Under Christ’s, we have been given the gift of righteousness, a right standing and status before God. A gift received by faith:

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Phil. 3:8-9

This is further emphasized in the example of Abraham:

If Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Rom. 4:2-5

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness

(3) The numerous times ‘faith’ or ‘believing’ and ‘righteousness’ appear together in Scripture …

“suggests that a person’s status before God is in view … If God’s righteousness is by faith then the intimation is that people must exercise faith to stand not guilty in His Presence.”

Dr Thomas R Schreiner

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Romans 3:21-22

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Share about the time the realisation came to you that you no longer had to work for your salvation, but that it was a free gift from God received by faith?
  2. Do you sometimes lose sight of the fact that you are in a right standing with God? What to do?
  3. Why do we think we have to earn salvation by doing good works? Are good works important?
  4. What does Abraham teach us?

Quote of the week

“The righteousness of God is both effective and forensic.”

Dr Thomas R. Schreiner

Verse of the week

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Galatians 2:20-21

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for Your gracious gift of righteousness, that we through faith in Jesus are in a right standing with Yourself, that there is now no condemnation in Christ.

Father, we still live in this broken world and we ask that You will bring the reality to men, women and children [name them] that in and through faith in Your Son Jesus Christ, they can be forgiven and come into a right relationship with You, in Jesus Christ’s Name and for His glory, Amen!