16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 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.”
Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4, which states that the righteous will live by his faith. We don’t live by our righteousness. That’s a truth from Isaiah 64:6, which says that all of us have become like one who is unclean, and our righteous acts are like filthy rags. We have become muddy and dirty, needing a shower and the heavy cycle of the washing machine.
Paul reminds us that righteousness is by faith, not by what we have done (or failed to do!). This righteousness is a designation, something God has declared of us, not something we accomplished on our own. We are called righteous by faith – faith in Jesus Christ our savior. He did the laundry. He was transfigured. He took upon himself all our dirty laundry, hanging it on the cross. He made us clean. As he lives, so we are given the promise that we will also live, not just now, in this lifetime. We are declared blameless, so we by faith may stand before God in the life to come. And Jesus did it for you and me.
Thank you, God, for the privilege of faith that allows us to be considered righteous before you. It is not our doing, but yours, through Jesus. Let us be grateful for this gift, thankful for your power at work in us, and bold to declare our faith in you. Amen.