Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (70)

Jesus is depicted with the Alpha and Omega letters in the catacombs of Rome from the 4th century.

Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, … to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:25.26.

God had given His own Son as the propitiation for the sins of the lost. Atonement was absolutely necessary, if God was to forgive sins and prove to be just at the same time. The law demanded that the righteous should be justified and the wicked condemned (cf. Deuteronomy 15:1).

This has become possible only because in His atoning death Christ finally settled any question concerning man’s sin. Through Christ’s death all God’s righteous claims regarding sin have been fully met. The guilt of all who would trust in Him lay on Him. He bore the punishment for them. The debt of guilt has been paid. God thus proves to be not only gracious, but also just, when He forgives guilty sinners and declares them righteous.

By not punishing sin twice God does not deal in contradiction to His righteousness but in full agreement with it. Because Christ has made atonement, God’s righteousness even demands that He justifies all who benefit by it. Who are the beneficiaries? All who no longer conceal their sins but confess them frankly before God. They no longer trust in their own supposed good works and righteousness or other excuses, but simply believe on Jesus Christ. What happy souls they are!

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