December 12, 1978
I showed you the greatness of that word “unto.”
As I said a while ago, 1 just can’t handle it with all the greatness that I know is there. It’s
like Walter said to me in the back room, we know the principles, the truths, but we just
can’t put all the great finery and detail around it. I feel like I’m not really qualified to
teach it, not because I don’t understand some of the things, but because I cannot do the
great justice that I feel in my heart the greatness of God’s Word sets. I can never describe
to you the righteousness of God how fantastic it is. To me, it’s an experience that a man or
woman has to have, and he simply has to believe it and walk, out on it. This is why I think
of this great seventeenth verse as the pinnacle of all truth in the church epistles. It’s the
apex, the synthesis upon which the whole of all the church epistles addressed to the body
“For” really stops you, because it is a figure of speech. The figures of speech are the Holy
Spirit’s markings of what is important in the Word. The figure in the Greek is the figure
aetiologia. It comes from the word aitia and logos. The word aitia means a cause or a
reason. You know that logos means word. A word giving the cause. Or with word you
could go with description. A description giving the cause. The Greek word means cause
shown. Giving a reason. Then I put a parenthesis, word, logos. Giving a reason (word) for
what is said or done.
It also has another name in figures of speech, apodeixis, which literally means full
demonstration. I believe in Romans 1:17 we have the full demonstration. The Latins called
it causae redditio. That is the Latin name for this figure. It simply means showing the
reason or cause. In this figure in every passage in God’s Word where the word “for” points
out the reason, or therefore shows the cause. It is significant in importance because it’s a
figure of speech, the Holy Spirit’s marking of that which He really wants us to sit up and
pay attention to.
Bullinger says it’s used so frequently in the scriptures that he doesn’t even list the number
of times. Every time you see “for,” if it’s giving a reason of what is said and done, it’s
always a figure. That really marks this verse.
But it also marks Verse 18 and Verse 20. So you have Verse 16 starting with “for,” Verse
17 starting with “for,” Verse 18 starting with “for,” and Verse 20. And all of those are
sitting there like great diamonds and you just pay fantastic attention, because God marked
the first word that’s used with a figure.
That figure is in the English dictionary in the word eteology. That figure in the Greek is
spelled aetiologia. It’s transliterated into the English word, eteology. Whenever you have
the letters “ogy” is always means science. This is according to the English dictionary a
science of causes or reason. It agrees exactly with what I told you the figure was in Greek,
cause shown, giving a reason for what is said or done. The science of causes or reason.
Its second usage is a branch of medicine that deals with the causes of disease. That’s what
the dictionary says about that word.
72 Romans 1:17
You have God’s provision. You see, salvation is basically and in essence connected with
righteousness. The righteousness of God by Jesus Christ by the individual believing in
him, Jesus Christ, as a complete savior.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The
just shall live by faith.” God’s provision is the righteousness of God. When a person by the
freedom of his will refuses God’s provision, they fail to obtain salvation, because when
they refuse God’s provision, they will substitute righteousness of their own by works or
They were real zealous but they were not zealous according to knowledge.
They went about to establish their own righteousness. That’s the failure to obtain salvation.
Righteousness of their own works having not submitted themselves unto the righteousness
of God. Man’s basic nature is always to do something to show how righteous he is, which
is an absolute counterfeit. It is refusing God’s provision. Subsequently, it’s a failure to
Romans 10:4, 5
So you have two types of righteousness spoken of in the Word. One is the righteousness of
God; the other is the righteousness of man’s works in keeping the law. Man’s
righteousness of his own works of the law. Those are the two great things you will see
coming up in the book of Romans, and you will see that the second is impossible. There is
no righteousness by the works of the law, because no man can keep the work that the law
requires. Subsequently, it’s a failure to obtain salvation because man refuses God’s
This brings me to the two great parallel truths in Romans 10:9.
You must believe in the resurrection of Christ.
Those are the two parallel truths in Romans 10:9, 10. One is believing in the resurrection
of Christ; the other is believing in the righteousness of God, God’s provision for man.
“For therein” – The “for” is that figure of speech giving the reason or cause. “Therein” or
“in it.” In the gospel because in Verse 16 it says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” For
therein, in it, the gospel, is the righteousness of God.
“Righteousness” is the Greek word dikaiosunē. It’s a noun form here, and it’s used 92
times in the New Testament. Its verb form is dikaioō. Its Hebrew correspondent word in
the Old Testament, and this we have checked in Aramaic and it’s equally true in Aramaic.
In Hebrew, the verb form is spelled tsadaq. The best I understand it, the word
righteousness means up to standard. Up to standard.
Romans 1:17 73
For in it, the gospel, is the up to standard, God’s up to standard revelation. It’s used in the
Bible when it talks about just balances, scales, where you are just. Talking about just
weight where you give the man what he’s got coming if he buys something from you.
Also used in just measures where you measure out to people that which is just. If I
remember correctly some place in the Old Testament it talks about this measuring. I forget
exactly how it talks, but I remember the details of it, that whenever they bought material
that people were selling, the man buying it to sell to someone else would have a short arm
man to do the buying. Then when he sold it he had a long arm man to do the selling. So he
would get more yards when he bought it and get more money when he sold it. That is just
balances, just measures, just weights. That is at least a part of the greatness of this word
righteousness. It’s just. Honest. Absolutely balanced perfectly.
The translation of this word in Aramaic and Hebrew back over into the English in the word
justice, we believe has a basis in Latin. And this is rather unfortunate, for it tends to
develop a thought concept which has no existence and carries no distinction in the Word of
God, for there’s one verbal root for justification, for righteousness, acquittal, and all these
other related words to it. The verb form of righteousness is the Greek word dikaioō. Its
Hebrew Old Testament correspondent is the Hebrew word tsadaq.
We discussed this at length tonight before we came on this telephone hook-up with all you
Corps people, because wisdom is justified of her children just doesn’t make any sense. If
you’ll look at it, talking about John the Baptist in Verse 18, he came neither eating nor
drinking, and they said he’s a glutton, a winebibber, friend of publicans and sinners. But
wisdom is justified of her children. That last line has to be fantastically important and a
We believe that it could well be translated “It is wisdom to work righteousness.” John the
Baptist worked righteousness. The son of man came eating and drinking. He worked
righteousness. And that’s wisdom. It is wisdom to work righteousness. I also wrote in my
Bible, “But wisdom is righteousness worked.”
It’s again in the Hebrew in the Old Testament Septuagint it has that Greek word, dikaioō,
which in the Hebrew Old Testament is this other word, tsadaq, and it simply means “by
thy words, by your wisdom, by the believing, you are made righteous.” And if you do not
believe, then you are going to get the other results.
“But he willing to justify himself” – to make himself appear righteous. He willing to make
himself righteous. We’re going to see that this is the righteousness of God, not a
righteousness on the part of man. Doing something to make himself righteous. Nothing
done by any individual brings righteousness within. It can at best only be a declaration of
righteousness to those who are involved.
Through the grace – The righteousness of God is so uniquely and wonderfully closely
associated with the grace and believing. Believe that through the grace we shall be saved.
Salvation is equivalent to justification. It is equivalent to being righteous.
74 Romans 1:17
Ephesians 2:8, 9, 10
Salvation is equivalent to justification. Salvation is equivalent to remission of sins, it’s
equivalent to being reconciled. It’s equivalent to not coming into condemnation. All of
those expressions and similar expressions simply clarify and illustrate the declaring
righteousness of God to the one who believes.
This righteousness of God in Romans 1:17, God’s righteousness, the Greek word,
dikaisunē is simply God Himself is the author of it, God Himself is the standard for God’s
righteousness. God Himself is the giver. A believer’s confession brings that righteousness
which God imputes or reckons to the believer through the work of Christ, making the
believer to stand lovely and acceptable in God in Christ. That is the righteousness of God
of Romans 1:17 or God’s righteousness.
For in it, the gospel, is the righteousness of God revealed. We have to take a look at the
“Revealed” – The Greek word is the word apokaluptō. Many of you will recognize in that
word similar Greek words; apokalypse. For therein, the gospel, the righteousness of God is
revealed. This word means unveiled and visible to the eye. It is revealed righteousness. For
therein the gospel is the righteousness of God revealed righteousness, unveiled, visible to
the eye, which means you can see it.
I John 3:7
I think this sets it as beautifully as it can be set. It’s in the doing of it that it becomes
Romans 1:17 – In it, the gospel, is the righteousness of God revealed righteousness from
faith to faith.
“From faith to faith” – This is another in depth greatness of the truth of God. The Greek
words you can look up in any interlinear. They are ek pisteos eis pistin. One of the
questions is, do these first two words, from faith, belong to the word righteousness or does
the “from faith” belong to the last two words, eis pistin.
They are parallel expressions that are used in the Word of God.
Romans 3:22 is one.
Romans 3:30 is a parallel expression.
All of us in the Corps fully know and appreciate the work that we’ve done through the
years on pistis and its usages.
It’s a parallel expression. When you work from faith to faith in Romans 1:17, you have to
take a look at these and have an understanding of them.
Righteousness by faith
The righteousness which is of faith is the parallel expression.
Romans 1:17 75
The parallel expression means a righteousness due to believing, in contrast with
righteousness of works or law. So we believe that these words in Romans 1:17, “from faith
to faith,” mean from, out of, faith, believing, to faith, meaning unto the believing of Jesus
Christ which made available the faith of Jesus Christ. Technically it is out of believing to,
all the way through to receiving the faith of Jesus Christ. The righteousness of God is
revealed righteousness by our believing. So the eye can see it unveiled. What Jesus Christ
did which makes available to us by God’s mercy and grace the faith of Jesus Christ.
“As it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
I’m sure the Corps will be singularly impressed with the words, “it is written.” To me it
speaks very loudly, like Matthew does when it talks about it is written. Here it is written,
the just shall live by faith.
“Just” is the Greek word dikaios. It’s an adjective form. Its basic root form is dikē. That
word means right. This word “just” is used 80 times in the King James: 40 times it’s
translated “righteous”; 33 times it’s translated “just”; 5 times it’s translated “right”; twice
it’s translated “meet.”
It is written. The writing is in Habakkuk 2.
The dikaios, the right, the one carrying the standard, the honest measure, the honest
weight, the one doing that lives by believing.
“Faith” is pisteō. This is repeated in Galatians, the one from Habakkuk. To me that puts all
of these truths in Romans 1:17 like into a vice. The righteousness of God, that revealed
righteousness from faith to faith has to be in the light of the record of the quotation of that
which is written in Habakkuk 2:4 and in Galatians 3:11.
The Greek text gives it specifically, “the just by faith, by believing, shall live.” This same
record is in Hebrews.
The just shall live by believing, which is acting upon the Word.
When you believe from faith to faith, you act, you believe unto the believing of Jesus
Christ who made available the faith of Jesus Christ, you are made righteous, receiving the
righteousness of God which will be revealed righteousness because it’s unveiled. People
can see you have Christ in you the hope of glory. And since you have Christ in you, it’s
unveiled, you live by believing. On one side of the ledger you could have three words,
“believing, righteousness and life.” Believing unto salvation gives you the righteousness of
God, which gives you life more than abundant, eternal life, all of that. On the opposite side
of it you would have “unbelief.” Unbelief is believing on the negative, which always
emphasizes the works of man, the law. That produces unrighteousness which in turn
In my notes I put a third category, believing, one side, unbelieving across from it. Then
another dash and I put sin. Sin is always due to not reaching up to the standard, not the
proper measure, not the proper balances. It means missing the mark because man
76 Romans 1:17
establishes his own righteousness. So he misses the mark by being disobedient to the
righteousness of God, which brings to that man death. This truth that the righteous shall
live by believing is spoken to those who have accepted by believing the righteousness of
God, which is revealed righteousness. You perhaps will want to find others in the Word.
But there is a beautiful example of this, which at this season of the year would speak very
plainly to a lot of people with ears to hear.
That is the position of Romans 1:17, the apex, the synthesis, the pinnacle of all truth. To
receive the righteousness of God from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by
Mary said be it unto me according to thy will. All the signs were just the opposite. She said
“how can this be, I know not a man [Luke 1:34].” God said with God nothing is
impossible. Paul aboard this ship, Paul was lost. There was absolutely no way, yet there
was a way, because he said, “I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.”
Moses was like that in Hebrews.
He endured, he persevered He set his mind like steel. How? As seeing him, God, who is
invisible, for God said lead my people. There was no way-sense knowledge wise that it
could be done. But he had the Word of God, and the Word of God is the will of God. He
believed the Word of God as the will of God, and endured as seeing Him that is invisible.
Be it unto me according to thy will. Paul’s statement in Acts. I believe God. That is
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, (Verse 16) and it almost makes you ashamed sense
knowledge wise to talk about the righteousness of God that man can’t do anything. But he
says I am not ashamed for therein, in the gospel, is the righteousness of God revealed
righteousness from those who believe out of believing unto the believing of the Lord Jesus
Christ who made available the faith of Jesus Christ as it is written, the just, the righteous
ones, it’s unveiled. They live by believing.
It’s like I’ve said thousands of times, we are what the Word of God says we are, we have
what the Word of God says we have. We have to declare it. We have to live it. We have to
work it. We have to unveil it so others can see it. That scripture in Romans 1:17 is that
great fulcrum, that great pinnacle of truth, on which the whole church epistles swings, that
it’s the righteousness of God imputed to man, not of works but of grace. Not of works lest
any man should boast. Not of works, for all men are dead in trespasses and sins, without
God and without hope. But it is the righteousness of God.
Kids, I don’t know any other way to explain it. I know it’s inadequate, but you have to
experience it yourself and just believe the truth of it.