Romans 1:15 - Being created in the image of God means that we must view ourselves as intrinsically valuable and richly invested with meaning, potentially and responsibilities. We are to be and to do on a finite scale, what God is and does on an infinite scale.
By virtue of being created in the image of God, human beings are capable of reflecting his character in their own life; animals possess none of these qualities. What distinguishes people from animals is the fact that human nature inherently has godlike possibilities.
Omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence, none of these other divine attributes have been ascribed to the human race as part of the image of God. We have been created to reflect God in our thinking and actions, but the physical sustained by God and dependent upon him for our existence in this world and in the world to come. Developing a godly character in this present life, this will be our personal identity in the world to come. It is the character or personality that we have developed in this life, that God preserves in his memory.
Romans 1:16 - What a marvelous plan God had for us! God has kept the fingerprints of the guilt-worthy off of the righteousness he designed for the guilt-worthy. God has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation, to tell the world God is not imputing their trespasses unto them; so we see the world still thinks he is. This ministry of reconciliation is not to the saved, we know we are reconciled, but now all have access to God, a change in status for the entire world. Does this mean the entire world is save? No.
There are those who mistakenly suppose that reconciliation is the same thing as justification. These people have jumped to the conclusion that Jesus Christ taking the sin issue off the table of God’s justice through his becoming sin for the human race is that which makes a person as righteous as God; they have mistaken reconciliation for justification. Being declared righteous is God’s gift to the believing sinner and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the sinner himself doing anything to deserve or merit that righteous standing.
What God was doing through his son; God knew about what he intended to do before the world was ever formed, yet, God had kept this secret from ages and generations until it was time for the ascended Jesus Christ to reveal it to the apostle Paul. God no longer views us in our human flesh, he views us in our identity in the second Adam (Jesus Christ), he views us in our glorified identity. In our identity in Christ, now we can bear fruit unto God, but it is only in our identity in Christ, not through this fleshly body in which we dwell.
Romans 1:17 - We could look at the righteousness of God, in the sense of righteousness being an attribute of God, God’s righteous character is part of God’s glory. BUT NOW the righteousness of God, apart from the law is manifested; God has provided for people what people desperately lacks, God’s very own perfect righteousness. 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. Being justified results in an unchanging attitude of peace with God for every believer. Reconciliation has to do with God’s justice being satisfied for sins, and that means all of them and that means for all the world, reconciliation is a sin issue. Justification is something entirely different, it has to do with a judicial decree of the very righteousness of God himself freely attributed to the believer’s account.
The avenue of our faith in Christ’s faithful performance on our behalf, rather than peace based upon our performance, results in an unchanging attitude of peace with God for every believer. We now have available for the enjoyment of our everyday experience an everlasting peaceful relationship with God! Justification is unfathomable to the earthly mind, that God could judicially consider you just as his perfectly righteous son.
This gift decree of righteousness comes totally apart from any and all human promise, any or all human performance or any or all human production, no human merit of people whatsoever for this free gift. God will never consider people’s works as a payment for God’s justifying declaration.