Paul tells the Romans that the gospel message is important, because if you believe in it’s message it can bring salvation. God uses the gospel to show us the only way to salvation.
The gospel leads us to salvation because it reveals righteousness. We learn what righteousness is, we learn that God is righteous, and we learn how to become righteous ourselves. The way we can become righteous is through faith, and righteous people are the people that God will save.
So, what exactly is righteousness? It’s a very religious sounding word, and doesn’t convey much of a meaning unless you understand it. To be righteous means simply that your actions are justified. You are a just, fair and morally upright person. God is righteous because he always judges everyone with justice and fairness, and he is the epitomy of moral uprightness.
However, I think very few of us would claim to be truly just, fair and morally upright. How can we obtain this state? Because if we don’t – God won’t accept us.
The answer is – by faith. Look at the example of Abraham. We are told in Genesis that:
“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
So Abraham wasn’t a righteous person, but because he believed in God’s promises – he had faith in God – God counted that as the same thing as righteousness.
Paul picks up on this point later in this book, and also in some of his other letters in the New Testament. This is therefore exceedingly important!
We can’t all be righteous but we can all have faith – and if we have faith, God will give us a tick in the box of righteousness too – and then we are on the way to salvation.
The other relevant point here is that we can’t do anything to save ourselves. Only one person was truly righteous, and that was the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how many fair and moral things we do, it is impossible for us to be please God unless we have faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
And then it will be God’s good pleasure to give us his kingdom.