In Harry Ironside’s commentary on Romans, he says, “The theme of the Epistle is the Righteousness of God.” If you don’t see that righteousness is the main theme of Romans, the book will remain obscure.
Romans 1 and 2 develop the idea that righteousness is a key factor in your arrival in heaven. The righteousness of God has been revealed from faith to faith, and the just (those who have been made right) live by faith (1:17).
God’s righteousness is a requirement for salvation and this righteousness is not hidden, it has been revealed. Notice he didn’t say it has just now been revealed! It’s been around since the beginning.
The problem is that the unrighteousness of men deserves the wrath of God (1:18), and all Man is filled with unrighteousness (1:29).
God is righteous and He judges righteous judgment (2:5). His righteous judgment says that people who persist in unrighteousness get tribulation, anguish, indignation and wrath (2:8-9). This is true for both Jews and Gentiles.
But it is equally true that any Jew or Gentile that does good receives glory, honor and immortality—eternal life (2:10). Sounds easy enough, until we hit Romans 3, “There is none righteous, no, not even one!”
The answer is not to flee to the law to try to do works of righteousness. Nope, the answer is to get the “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (3:22).
Faith in His blood is the answer for all sins and to attain the righteousness of God (3:25). Christ’s blood provides God the way to justify the unrighteous (3:26).