Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Did God give us the Gospel only to forgive our sins and to keep us from hell? That is of course part of what accepting the Gospel does but there is so much more. The object of the gospel is to restore righteousness. Faith in Jesus which comes from hearing the Gospel is the only way God can make sinful humanity righteous and justified in His sight. Being justified and declared righteous is only by the fact that one accepts that Jesus was delivered for their offenses and raised for their justification Romans 4:25. Righteousness is all that God requires a man to be that he could never be in and of himself by his own works, given as a free gift on Jesus’ works.
Justification is the central purpose of the Gospel of God. In the gospel, God reveals righteousness apart from law. The “righteousness apart from law” is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The righteousness from God does not make void the righteous and just requirements of the law but it establishes the law’s standard. It is this righteousness apart from the law that Paul calls the “righteousness of God.” Thus, the status of righteousness which the law sought to bring about is now realized in anyone who accepts Jesus as God’s means of salvation. The righteousness of God comes to one through faith in Jesus. Christ has become for everyone all that God requires of one to be.
No man can be just with God through keeping the law due to the inherent weakness within man’s flesh and fallen nature. The law of God must be kept perfectly in every point. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” The law condemns when one fails at keeping it as well as placing one under wrath. How can a man escape the wrath of God, the dominion of sin, the curse of the law, and the condemnation? There is only one way which is by faith in and through Jesus Christ. This is what the glorious gospel is all about and what the Apostle Paul rejoiced in by declaring, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith…. Romans 1:17.”
When a person confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and believes in His resurrection (Rm. 10:9, 10) one receives the righteousness of God apart from law. God does not remove the just requirements of His moral law, but He upholds his demands through Jesus. In a person’s acceptance of Jesus as the only way of salvation, God imputes, charges, or credits to one’s account, the righteousness of His Son. Justification, being legally declared righteous, does not diminish the Law but establishes its rightness, holiness, and goodness. You could say that justification by faith in Jesus’ work makes the law and the sinner friends. Faith in Jesus is the only place the Law and sinner can meet. It is the only place of reconciliation.