When I was in the Navy, my wife made sure I got off the ship in every port and had some fun. Her rule was, I had to buy her a coffee cup in every port my ship pulled into. Needless to say, my wife had lots of cups from Naples Italy.
One day I was with about ten other guys and we were just looking through the shops in Barcelona, Spain. One of the men turned to me and stated, “I wish these foreigners would speak English.” The merchant looked at us and stated, “You do.”
As Americans, we sometimes forget that we are foreigners when we are in a place where no one knows us. Even if I went back to the town where I was raised in Arkansas, I would be a foreigner because no one there has seen me in fifty years.
As Americans, we have the mindset that “foreigners” are people who are not Americans. To the Jews, a foreigner is someone who is not a Jew.
- A person belonging to or owing to a foreign country.
- Chiefly dialectal: one not native to a place or community
One time when my ship stopped in Barcelona, three of my friends and I decided to find a small bar (I wasn’t a Christian then) and have some fun. We found such a place deep into the community.
When we entered, there was only the girl behind the bar and an elderly man sitting at one of the tables. It was my turn to buy, so I went to the bar and the others sat down at a table. I managed to tell the girl what I wanted by pointing and holding up four fingers.
The girl motioned for me to go to the table and she brought us our drinks. When the girl arrived at the table, one of the guys had taken his camera out and was taking pictures of the inside of the bar.
The girl promptly sat in my lap and indicated through hand gestures that he should take her picture in my lap. She then sat in each of the others’ laps and got her picture taken.
That afternoon we all had some good clean fun, we and the people in the bar laughed along with us and when we started to leave, there was no tab to be paid. Tell me, who were the foreigners that day?
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference.Romans 3:21-22 (NKJV)
Notice that Paul didn’t say the name of any denomination, creed, color, or gender of people. Paul stated those who believe. That does not include those who attended some class to become a member of the church, was anointed by a priest as a baby, or pretend to be a believer so they can gain status in the community.
God (through Paul) stated that anyone who believes and continues to believe until they look like Christ. Those are the ones who will become the “righteousness of God.”