"For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written" Romans 1:17
Revealed - The Greek verb "revealed" is apokaluptetai. This is present tense an on-going process. Notice that "is revealed" implies something new. This is not simply a repetition of the Old Testament Law. There is something entirely new here a new way of understanding how God is making the world right. This is not something that Man finds out by his own investigation. God has to "uncover" it (the meaning of apokaluptetai).
Paul is using an Old Testament prophet to talk about the righteousness of God. The quotation shows that Paul argues for a continuous and identical righteousness. It is the revelation that has changed, not the message. The message is: "the man who by faith is just will live". The "new" revelation is that Jesus is the summation of all that God has been uncovering.
So often we have heard that the Old Testament God is a God of anger and vengeance while the New Testament God is a God of love and light. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is God. He has not changed. He declares Himself to be abundant in mercy and showing lovingkindness (Exodus 34:6). And He declares Himself to be a God of holy wrath (Romans 1:18). In our modern world, we tend to downplay the judgment of God. We want a God who is just a good guy, who forgives everything and is a giant Santa Claus. We have deliberately overlooked the fact that mercy is the flip-side of judgment. We don't like to face up to our unworthiness and sin. But the same God who judged rebellious and sinful nations in the past is looking over our nation today. What He sees must be very disturbing indeed.
God is patient (1 Cor. 13:4) but His patience will not last forever. He postpones His wrath against sin. He does not erase it.
Paul wants us to see that this new revelation in Jesus is the fulfillment of the same plan of salvation. It includes both mercy and judgment. The plan doesn't change at all. The only thing that changes is how clearly we can see it.
"Father, forgive us for ignoring Your desire for complete obedience. Forgive us for our tendency to excuse our actions because you are a God of love. Thank you for postponing your wrath so that we might come to repentance. Remind us of your unfailing call to holiness. Without You, Lord, we cannot survive."
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inspirational devotions by Skip Moen.
"Today's Word" devotional, from Skip Moen . © 2003 is used by permission. All rights reserved.
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