Romans 1:17 - “For therein,” inside that gospel message is good news concerning a righteousness that far exceeds the righteousness of any person, no matter how righteous appearing that person may be. The righteousness spoken of in what Paul calls “the gospel of Christ” is no less than than the perfect righteousness that belongs to God himself.
Paul went on to tell us that the person who would have righteousness freely attributed to their account, is the person who has believed something, and it is an issue Paul said of faith from two different perspectives, “from faith to faith.” The first “faith” in that expression is a reference to the faith OF, or belonging to Christ himself.
So it was ultimately Christ’s faith that allowed God’s justice to remain intact, as God declares an unrighteous believer to be righteous. You see, apart from Christ’s faith and his faithfulness to carry out the Father’s will based on that faith, there would not be anyone perfectly righteous to whom God could join a believing sinner.
Just as Christ never doubted the will of the Father, the Father never doubted the faith and faithfulness of his son. It was God’s plan to use the faith and its resultant faithfulness of the son of God in the ultimate glorification of the human race who would take him at his Word. The Identity of believers to Christ is that which allows God to remain just when he credits those with righteousness with that which belongs Christ, who is perfectly righteous.
2 Timothy 3:7 - Pride will not let us swallow our own pill. You see, on one hand traditions die hard, some people are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, because they fear learning. Knowledge of the truth may cause them to have to change the truth they have been standing on for who knows how long, and that is a frightening thing for lots of people.
It is a fearful thing to think we may have been wrong all along, much easier for many people to avoid learning then change in mid-stream. Pride is a tremendously powerful force, money can be a factor. Money and power go hand in hand in the mind of carnal people, which actually leads us to the real reason from Paul’s prospective some are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
People living in the realm of the flesh, focusing more on the things of the earth and the desires of the flesh than on the things of God. Yes, both pride and money fit within the carnal category. To be carnal is to centered, concerned with personal stature with the things that satisfy fleshly desires and emotional needs.
There are pastors out there who have come to the knowledge of the Word of God Rightly Divided who refuse to take a stand on the distinctiveness of Paul’s ministry and Paul’s message and all because in their minds they have too much to lose if they do. Could they only see what they truly have to gain, if they do.
1 Timothy 1:15 - Paul was not only first in line when it came to dispensing the Grace of God, Paul was also foremost in crime when it came to murdering the saints of Israel’s earthly kingdom program. If Paul was at Pentecost, would Paul himself, if he took part in stoning Stephen for believing the message given at Pentecost, would he have been a blasphemer at Pentecost?
In Paul’s pre-grace zealousness, he would have been a foremost rejecter of any notion whatsoever that Jesus was Israel’s messiah or that Jesus had risen from among the dead. First in line, first in crime are apt descriptions for the Apostle of Grace. Paul is the chief pattern of God’s grace to all, he is the foremost example. Paul was certainly the first person to be an exhibitor of the long-suffering Grace of God, in that Paul called himself a blasphemer according to his very own testimony. (1Timothy 1:13)
We need to understand that even though Paul was saved, Paul still considered himself to be a sinner. Paul understood the word: Sin. And Paul understood that word meant to come short of the righteousness belonging to God himself. The word “chief” in this passage is the Greek word protos, were we get our English word prototype.
Not only does prototype mean the first in a sense of time, prototype can also mean: a foremost example. Paul is the foremost example of the impossibility, the total impossibility of gaining righteousness before God through the performance of the flesh. The source of our righteousness! What is it: personal performance or identity in Christ?