In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.” In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel. Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.” Packer writes,
“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).
This week, we come to the letter “R”.
R is for Righteousness
In the Gospel “a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last” (Rom. 1:17). Paul’s argument in the letter to the Romans is deep and complex, but we submit that the Gospel reveals God’s righteousness in at least these two ways. First, it is a declaration that God himself is just and righteous, for the Gospel teaches that in Christ our sins have been fully propitiated as a basis for his forgiving of us (Rom. 3:24-26; 1 John 1:9, 2:2). Then, second, through the Gospel God declares us righteous as we put our faith in Christ Jesus. Thus in the Gospel God demonstrates “his own justice at the present time, so as to be just and the ones who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). It is truly vital beyond words that we faithfully preach and teach this Gospel.