Romans 1:17 NASB
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.””
This passage is a direct continuation from the previous passage as Paul affirms that in the gospel is the act of God’s righteousness. The gospel isn’t just God’s plan for salvation, it is His perfect way of demonstrating His character and integrity. Righteousness is in this sense action oriented. Often we think of righteousness as the legal standing before God such as in justification. However this use of God’s righteousness reveals God proving His commitment to the covenant He is making with mankind. God is holy and perfect, and because of this perfection only righteous humans can enter into His eternal Kingdom. So God reveals His goodness and purity upon the cross to allow us to be covered in that righteousness.
The phrase “faith to faith” has been debated over what it means exactly. But the most logical explanation is that as God’s righteousness was revealed on the cross, it is established in us out of faith and into faith. Meaning, our righteousness isn’t attained by deeds but by faith in the righteousness of Jesus, which we receive.
Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to help his Jewish readers understand that the continuation of faith in God never ended. In fact, it has been since Abraham, that God considers man righteous by his faith. The Hebrew word used in this verse is “saddiq” which used under the parent noun “sedeq” denotes not just a righteousness and lawful standing before God, it is used in a action oriented way. As you study this word, as Habakkuk intended, you see that the righteous man is a man that does what God commands. A man that fulfills the decrees of God and is done by faith in God. This faith is real because it is proved to be real. God desires righteous people, and righteous people find their justification and holiness through the power of the gospel, but they prove their faith by action. This isn’t a works based salvation, far from it! Only by the blood of Jesus are we made righteous, but it is our faith in the blood that makes us righteous.