Paul tells us an important fact in Romans chapter three. Rom 3:10
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one”
This is a central theme of not just the New Testament but the entire word of God. From the time of the fall mankind has been trying to make themselves righteous by works. Adam and Eve tried to cover their own sin with fig leaves that they had sown together in order to stand before a righteous Holy God.
Cain brought the works of his hand to atone for his sin and allow himself to stand before God and was rejected. On and on the scriptures tell us of people who tried to make themselves right in the sight of God and failed.
So what is this righteousness or right standing? How do we attain it if we cannot get it by our own efforts? Righteousness is fulfilling every requirement of God’s law down to the last letter. We however have a problem with this don’t we? Look at Rom 3:20
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Paul tells us of our predicament! We will not be declared righteous by obedience to the law! We cannot attain righteousness by our own efforts even when we obey the law! So how do we become righteous then?
Paul answers the question for us in verse 21 of Romans 3.
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
What is this righteousness from God Paul is talking about?
Jerry Bridges explains in his book “The Gospel for Real Life”
“What then is the righteousness from God? It is a righteousness that he both requires and provides for us.” It is the righteousness He requires because it must fully satisfy the utmost demands of His law, both in its precepts and penalty.”