This is the most important passage perhaps in all of Romans. There is a deadlock between man and God. Man is completely depraved, unable to save himself, and completely alienated from God. God, on the other hand, is completely just, and although he loves humanity, he cannot allow their rebellion to go unpunished – to do so would violate his character. In an amazing fork in the road, God spans this great chasm through the cross of Christ. God’s righteousness, as Luther discovered, is revealed, not as wrath, but as grace-filled forbearance and pardon for those who are in Christ Jesus.