The Righteous Will Live by Faith—Romans 1:17
"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith" (Romans 1:17)
Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." To the average Joe, that statement seems unreachable, because the Pharisees 'righteousness' far exceed that of the everyday man. But what Jesus was saying is that that to obtain the kingdom of Heaven you need a right standing with God, and to have that you needed to be spotless, blameless and sinless before Him.
For us, this is an impossible accomplishment on our own, because Isaiah tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags ( Isaiah 63:6 ). Not our sins or our misdeeds, but our righteousness. Everything that we do or could do to obtain a right standing with God is as a dirty soiled rag.
However, Paul tells in in Romans 1:17 that "in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith..." the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven is that Jesus paid for our sins and provide for us a way to have right standing with God. He swapped our unworthiness in our state of sin and shame and has provided His righteousness for us. Because of His sacrifice on the cross, we are spotless, blameless and sinless before God if we believe in Jesus whom He has sent.
Ephesians 4:24 says to "put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. " When we call upon the name of the Lord, in faith we believe that He has saved us and that he puts His Spirit within us and as such, we are new creations in Christ Jesus ( II Corinthians 5:17 ) In verse 21 of the same chapter in II Corinthians Paul says , "God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." ( II Corinthians 5:21 ). According to this verse, through our Faith and reliance on Jesus, we have the His righteousness and because of that was will see the Kingdom of God because God's requirements have been completely satisfied through Christ Jesus.
Today, if you call Jesus your Lord, I want you to know that you have obtained the righteous that far exceeds that of the Pharisees. You have the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Paul told us that the righteous will live by faith and it is only through our faith in what Jesus did for us that we can be confident before the Lord in true righteousness and holiness.