Pauls Footsteps #265

With v25 Paul moves away from language of the court of law (justification v24) and from the language of the marketplace (redemption, v25) to the third metaphor of salvation – propitiation (NKJV), taken from the language of the OT sacrificial altar. Other translations use the word atonement. The NLT has “sacrifice for sin.” Whichever translation you look at; it is pointing to the OT sacrificial system that was a shadow of what Jesus would eventually do.

While in the pagan Greek world the word had a connotation of appeasing the wrath of gods, it is absolutely crucial to recognise that Christ did not shed his blood to appease God’s wrath. On the contrary, according to Romans 3:25 God “put forward” (RSV) the propitiatory sacrifice. “Herein is love,” writes John, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

The cross, therefore, does not represent a change in God’s attitude toward sinners. Rather, it is the supreme expression of His love. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish [because of sin], but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God has taken sin seriously. He could not just ignore its destructive results. It is destroying His beloved people. God’s wrath is his judgment on sin. Paul’s teaching in Romans 3 is that Christ’s death removed the sentence of God’s just condemnation from those who through faith accept His sacrifice. The good news for today is that He died in our place. The good news is that Christ died for me personally. The good news is that God through Christ justifies, redeems, and propitiates. In short, God saves from sin those who cannot save themselves. That’s you and me. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. V25 has an even more important word! It is one of the most important words in the Bible. Blood! “People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” NLT
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