The Romans and John 3:16

As you study through the book of Acts, you realize that you are going through a long period of years. And, during that period, great changes are happening. The book opens where Luke had left off in his first book, the gospel of Luke, and then continues his account. It picks up with the ascension of Christ into Heaven, the appointment of a replacement for Judas, who betrayed the Lord, and fell because of his transgression, and you see Peter emerge as the powerful spokesman for the 12 apostles to Israel.

On a Jewish Holy Day, called Pentecost, the 12 Apostles are filled with the Holy Ghost and are powerful witnesses to the men of Israel that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and God has proven it by the resurrecton from the dead. Peter calls on the men of Israel to repent, that is to change their mind, think differently about this Man. He IS your Messiah. Be converted. Be identified with Him in water baptism, and look for the time when he comes again and all Israel shall be saved, and the Kingdom will be restored.

But Israel doesn't repent. Peter's message was "repent and be baptized, every one of you," but they don't. Only a "little flock" of believers, for instance 3000 in Acts two, and 5000 in Acts four, believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised in scripture. So Peter's ministry begins to decline. By Acts chapter seven, a man named Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, again charges the leaders of Israel with the murder of their Messiah. But they stop their ears and gnash on him with their teeth and stone him to death.

So Israel fell, and the ministry of Peter is declining. Things are changing rapidly. There is great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem. They are all scattered. By the time of Acts chapter twelve, James the apostle, who wrote the book of James, is killed by the sword and Peter is put in prison, Herod the King, determined that Peter would suffer the same fate as James. But Peter is freed by an angel. He goes into hiding. The bible says that he went to "another place," and never again do you find Peter preaching a sermon. All that you have as a record of Peter's ministry are the two books he wrote to those Jewish beleivers who had been scattered. He refers to them as the "strangers scattered," when he writes to them in 1 and 2 Peter.

Then the attention turns to Paul and his ministry and his message. Paul preaches a different message than Peter. Paul doesn't preach the restoring of the Kingdom to Israel, but preaches a salvation message for both Jews and Greeks, apart from a Kingdom of priests and holy nation, as Peter preached. Instead Paul preaches a gospel about a joint body of believers in which there is NO nationality, neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female.

Then in Acts chapter fifteen, the Lord sends Paul to Jerusalem to communicate to them, that gospel that I preach. Paul does that privately, to Peter, James and John, and then publicly. The public meeting is what Luke writes about in Acts 15 and the private meeting is what Paul writes about in Galatians chapter two.

Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

As he said he did it PRIVATELY, and then he says they saw something:

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

Galatians 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

So they saw that there are two distinct messages from the Lord. One about a kingdom of priests and an holy nation, called the gospel of the circumcison and the other about a joint body of believers who have no priests, are not priests, and are not a Kingdom. Instead, the gospel of the uncircumcision committed to Paul is about a JOINT BODY of believers, all equal, and all one, and in which there is no difference.

That's why the book of Acts, instead of being a doctrine book for the church, is actually a record book. There are TWO groups of people involved and there are TWO different doctrines involved. Now listen carefully here: BOTH of those groups, during the book of Acts are associated with Israel. This is the hard thing for many people to see, but it really is a SIMPLE thing, if you just read the passages and let the words say what they say, as they say it, where they say it.

What you have in the book of Acts is TWO bodies of believers. One group is a "little flock" of Jewish Kingdom believers. A group which grew to a larger flock, over 8,000 people that are identified in the verses. 3,000 people were added in Acts chapter two, and 5,000 in Acts chapter four. In other words, all of these people HAD BEEN the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." You could now say that they are FOUND SHEEP. All of those people heard, and believed a Jewish Messianic message about Jesus Christ, who was presented to them as THEIR KING. He was presented as the Son of David, the heir to the throne of David, the King of Israel. This message is called the gospel of the circumcison. In the ministry of Jesus Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the bible says that he was a minister of the circumcison:

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

But Paul's message is called the gospel of the UNcircumcision:

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

Now this is where a lot of people get confused. The reason FOR the confusion can be laid squarely at the feet of blind religious leaders and BAD bible translations. Many so-called bibles CHANGE the little two letter word "of" to the word "to" in an attempt to make Peter's message and doctrine be the same as Paul's message and doctrine. But that is NOT the case. The gospel of the uncircumcision is ONE gospel while the gospel of the circumcision is ANOTHER gospel.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Religion today wants to make ANOTHER gospel a false gospel, but there is no such thing in the bible as a false gospel. This is a REAL gospel. it is ANOTHER gospel. It is NOT the gospel Paul preached. Now one more time: EVERYBODY in the book of Acts that either Peter or Paul preached to, was associated with Israel. But everybody DID NOT hear the SAME gospel. There were TWO groups of believers involved. That's why we say, the book of Acts is NOT a doctrine book. It is a record of the ACTS of the Apostles and is the record of God setting aside and casting away the nation of Isreal...for a reason, for a season. Now about these two terms: Circumcision is the TOKEN of the COVENANT God made with Abraham in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Now you, if you had never read the bible, never studied the Hebrew scriptures, would you know anything at all about a token of a covenant? Would you understand, and just automatically know that physical circumcision was given to some people as a TOKEN of a COVENANT? What if, let's just say, that you were an ALIEN from the covenants of promise? Would the terminology "circumcision" and "uncircumcision" mean anything at all to you? What if, in Acts chapter 14, Paul had went up to a man, called "the Priest of Jupiter," a man who worships a rock, or the queen of Heaven, or something. What if Paul had went up to that man and said, "Hi Priest, I would like to share with you the gospel of the uncircumcision?" Do you see what I am saying? The term would be meaningless to him. He wouldn't have a clue. He worships a rock. He knows nothing about covenants and tokens.

So the VERY terminology, circumcison and uncircumcision, IS JEWISH. Only the Jews, and those who were familiar with the covenants would know the terminology. Paul just uses the words very matter of factly in the book of Galatians. Why? Because the Galatians KNEW what it meant. The Galatians were people from Paul's ministry at the time of Acts chapter 13 and Acts chapter fourteen. Paul found them, and he preached to them, in the synagogues of the Jews, in Antioch and Iconium and Lystra and Derbe and "the regions round about." They KNEW what circumcision meant. They KNEW what uncircumcison meant. Not so with the Ephesians. When Paul LATER writes to some other Gentiles, the Ephesians, he is careful to EXPLAIN what it means:

Ephesians 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Paul carefully gives the Ephesians the definition of the terms, he tells them WHAT the words meant. That would not have been necessary at all if they had already known all about it. The point is, the Galatians were people, both Jews and Gentiles, who were not aliens and strangers from Israel. They were allied with Israel. They were in the synagogues of the Jews where Paul preached. They feared the God of Abraham, and they were IN  the covenants of promise, not aliens from them.

So the book of Acts is a time period where God is dealing with "the commonwealth of Israel." That commonwealth is made up of both Jews and Gentiles who fear the God of Abraham. During that period of time, there are the Galatians, the Thessalonians, the Corinthians and the Romans. During all the time of Paul's ministry in the book of Acts, Israel has fallen. Peter and his message is out of the picture, and Paul and his message is in the forefront. And that brings us to the Gentiles in the book of Romans.

There are THREE things I want you to see about the Romans to whom Paul writes the Roman letter.

1. They are Gentiles

2. They have faith IN SOMETHING

3. They don't know Paul's gospel

Let's just establish those three things right now, so that as we move on we will have these three facts about the Romans clear in our minds. Number one, we know that they are Gentiles:

Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Now these people are "brethren," Paul says. Is that a reference to being brethren in the body of Christ, or is that simply a reference to them being men, and brethren. I think it is, because, guess what, they CALL THEMSELVES Jews:

Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

Now he has already said that he is writing to Gentiles. I want to have some fruit AMONG YOU also, even as among OTHER GENTILES. So we know then that the Romans are Gentiles. But look at that...they call themselves Jews. Now there is a difference between these men calling themselves Jews and being a Jew, that is, being a literal descendent, of the seed of Abraham. So what does this tell you? It says that they are proselytes. It says that they are Gentiles who have converted to the Jews religion, and they call themselves Jews. So what else does that tell you? It tells you that they know the significance of circumcison and uncircumcision. Paul doesn't have to tell these people what the terms mean, or who calls who what, they know it. And the fact that they know it is a big factor in Paul's message to them, because, guess what? They have never heard the gospel of Christ. They have never heard Paul's gospel.

Romans 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

They have never heard it. Paul has never been to Rome. He has never preached to these people. He has been preaching the gospel of Christ all during the time period of the book of Acts. As a matter of fact he says:

Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;

Paul has desired, for many years, to go to Rome. But he has never been there. They have never heard him preach. But yet, these people have a faith:

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

So Paul thanks God for these peoples faith. They have a faith. It is spoken of throughout the whole world, he says. But yet, they have never heard Paul's gospel. Up to now he has never preached to them, and he has never written to them. So what is their faith? I think it could be John 3:16:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Now a lot of people believe that John 3:16 is the gospel. Many people quote John 3:16 as the means of salvation. But what does it really say? It speaks about the love of God. It says that God so loved the world that he gave his son. And it says that people who believe IN HIM won't perish, but have everlasting life. But does it really tell you about the cross of Christ? Does John 3:16 really tell you the WHY of the cross? Does it really say that Christ died for our sins, that he was raised for our justification. Does it say that God reconciled you unto himself by the death of His son, making Him to be your sin? It really doesn't.

What it DOES do, is identify God's Son and that God gave him. As a matter of fact that is the WHOLE purpose of the gospel of John. John is one of the 12. He was chosen by the Lord to preach a Jewish Kingdom message, called "the gospel of the Kingdom" to the nation of Israel. The biggest part of that message was that Jesus IS the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The central truth of the message was that Jesus is the Christ of prophecy. He IS Israel's King. That is in one accord WITH the prophets:

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The government in the passage is a reference to Jesus Christ ruling and reigning on the Thone of David, as the King in the Kingdom. In other words, the gospel of the Kingdom, and the identity of the King. That's what John's gospel is all about. It's about the IDENTITY, the name. If you put the WHY of the cross in John 3:16 you have to go somewhere else and find out WHY Christ died on the cross and read it into the passage. The cross is not even IN John 3:16, and for that matter throughout the whole book of John even the DEATH of Christ is not in view. During Matthew, Mark, Luke and John THEY didn't even know that Christ was going to die, and AFTER the resurrection they didn't even believe that He was raised from the dead, until he appeared to them. So if you read the gospel of YOUR salvation INTO John 3:16 you first have to go to 1 Corinthians 15, find out WHY Christ died from Paul, and then come back and read it into the passage.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1 Corinthians 15 tells you WHY Christ died. That information was not given to John. It certainly was not known at the time of John 3:16. And if John ever knew the gospel of Christ, which he did, he got it from Paul, because Paul is the one who received it, just as he said, "I delivered unto you FIRST OF ALL that which I also received." Now obviously John learned the WHY of the cross at the time of Acts 15, because Paul says in the book of Galatians that the Lord sent him to Jerusalem at the time of Acts 15 to COMMUNICATE that fact. But John 3:16 doesn't include that fact. John 3:16 is about the NAME, the IDENTITY, of Israel's Messiah, as is the whole book of John. Let's check a few passages:

John 1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

John 1:49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

John 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Now go to John chapter twenty. This is AFTER the resurrection of Christ. Note what John says the whole purpose of his book was:

John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

So you see that it is all about the identity. It is about the name of the Messiah. It is to identify Jesus as the Son of God, Israel's King. And it doesn't stop there. It continues right on into the early part of the book of Acts. Look at Peter's preaching:

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Can you see that the WHY of the cross is just not there? It is all about the identity, about the name. The person spoken of by all of the prophets in Hebrew scripture must be named. He must be identified as THE person they were to have faith in:

Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

And then there is the Ethiopian eunuch:

Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

So the entire ministry, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and on into the book of Acts by the 12, and by the others, such as Philip, the message was a Kingdom message. It hinged on having faith IN the Son of God. Now, the Romans have a faith:

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Notice that he had called them "brethren," but that he didn't call them saints. He says they are called to be saints. Why doesn't he call them saints? Because they are not established:

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

What spiritual gift do you think that Paul could impart to them that would establish them? It would be Paul's gospel, the gospel of Christ:

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

So Paul wants them to have a gift. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life:

Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

As Paul writes the letter, these Gentiles at Rome DO NOT have the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is revealed where? In Paul's gospel. In the gospel of Christ. These people are trying to attain to righteousness by the LAW:

Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

Romans 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Romans 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,

Romans 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

So that was the condition of the Romans until Paul wrote the letter with things he wanted to put in their mind:

Romans 15:15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

So now we know what it is called that these Romans have believed. It is the Gospel of God. It is the truth of John 3:16, the identity of Christ, the name of Christ and it includes the resurrection from the dead, as in:

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Romans 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

That's what the Romans have faith in before Paul's letter. The gospel of God, and you can see right there what it is. The gospel of God is something that was promised by God in the holy scriptures, in other words it is a reference to the Hebrew scriptures, and all the prophecies about Jesus Christ. That he is of the seed of David, according to the flesh. In other words he was a Jew, going back through David to Abraham. He was declared, in resurrection, to be the Son of God. Paul calls it the gospel of God, and it is foundational truth for everybody. It is Peter's truth as well as Paul's:

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The nation of Israel, for the most part, obeyed not the gospel of God. God's testimony about His Son, and it is true beyond a shadow of a doubt, proven by the resurrection from the dead. The Jews refuse to believe it. That's why Paul says what he does:

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Romans 9:2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 9, 10 and 11 are kind of like a PARENTHESIS in the book of Romans. These Roman Gentiles are very familiar with what Paul is saying. After all they, themselves, have been calling themselves Jews and boasting in the law.

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

So what the Jews were not doing is that they were not believing the gospel of God:

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

So there again, is basically the gospel of God. God's record of His Son, Jesus Christ and faith that God had raised Him from the dead. The majority of Israel was not believing that. Most of the Israelites living back then rejected their Messiah. In doing so they rejected eternal life. But remember that all Israel shall be saved, at some future day which is yet unknown to us,  as it is written:

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

So those in Israel, the term ALL ISRAEL, will be those, who in the tribulation will turn from ungodliness in Jacob. They will confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and doing so, will be saved at the Second Coming.

Romans 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

So in the meantime, Israel has fallen, national repentance has been withdrawn. There is now the salvation message which the Lord revealed exclusively to Paul:

Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

But Paul, all the way through the book of Acts, has been preaching MY GOSPEL. Paul?s gospel is the gospel of Christ, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. In other words, people who were in the promises. In other words they knew the significance of circumcision and uncircumcision. As a matter of fact, these Gentiles to whom Paul wrote were most likely circumcised, because he says:

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Remember they were calling themselves Jews. So their condition was, that they had been GRAFFED IN to a position of spiritual favor, spiritual blessing. But they were in a dangerous position. Paul told them to be not high minded, but to fear. They were in danger of being broken off unless they continued in God's goodness.

Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Now some try to teach that the Olive Tree is the body of Christ. It can't be. The Olive Tree represents Israel. It represents spiritual favor, spiritual blessings through Israel. These people had been aligned with Israel. They feared the God of Abraham, sought the blessings of the God of Abraham, and they had a standing BY FAITH in Jesus Christ. BUT did you notice that they were in danger of being broken off? You can't be broken off from the body of Christ, but these could be broken off? How? By NOT continuing in God's goodness. What is God's goodness?

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Now the Romans have a standing but they are not established. How can they be established? By believing Paul's gospel, the gospel of Christ. They believe the gospel of God but that won't establish them. They believe John 3:16, perhaps, but that doesn't declare the WHY of the cross. They can be established by believing Paul's doctrine, Paul's gospel, the gospel of Christ. They need to understand the WHY of the cross: The IMPUTED righteousness of God. Not our own righteousness by the works of the Law:

Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

So to believe ON HIM that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead is to continue in God's goodness. And God's goodness is about grace:

Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

So to those who believed Paul's message in the book of Romans they were ESTABLISHED in the body of Christ, by the gospel of Christ.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,