‘‘…To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’’ Rom.3:25 – 26
Additional reading: 2Chr. 12:6; Psa. 33:5; Isa. 30:18; Zeph. 3:5; Ac. 17:31; Rev. 16: 5- 6
To understand this clearly, it is expedient we explore Romans chapter two, from verse twenty three through twenty nine. Paul made it clear there that though the Jews boasted in the law, yet they dishonoured God by breaking the law. In this regard, he upheld that circumcision would be of value if the Jews obeyed God’s law. Since the Jews did not obey God’s word, their circumcision amounted to nothing as he believed that if the one who was not circumcised kept the law, his uncircumcision would be regarded as circumcision. ’’For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.’’ (Rom. 2: 25 ESV)
Continuing in this regard in chapter three, he asked: ‘‘Then what advantage has the Jews? Or what is the value of circumcision? (Rom.3:1). According to Paul, Jews had so many advantages over Gentiles. To begin with, they received God’s law first. Having established this, the main argument began:
1. ‘‘It is true that some of them did not believe the message. But does this mean that God cannot be trusted, just because they did not have faith?’’ (verse 3)
2. ‘‘If our evil deeds show how right God is, then what can we say? Is it wrong for God to become angry and punish us? What a foolish thing to ask.’’ (verse 5)
3. ‘‘Since your lies bring great honor to God by showing how truthful he is, you may ask why God still says you are a sinner.’’ (verse 7)
In very simple terms, Paul spoke the minds of some when he asked: what reason does God have to punish anyone if sin brought out something good, i.e. the righteousness of God? In the sight of man, there is no reason for God to punish anyone if his bad deeds show just how good He was! Then he pressed to know if Jews should continue in sin just because some believed that their evil deeds showed how right God was and if they were in any away better than the Gentiles !: ‘‘Well then, are we Jews in any better condition than the Gentiles? Not at all! I have already shown that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say: ‘There is no one who is righteous, no one who is wiser or who worships God. All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right, not even one.’ ’’ (Rom. 3:9 – 12 GNB).
Having said this, he went on to highlight the man’s sinful state making it clear that no one could be put right in the sight of God by obeying the Law as the Law itself only shows our sinful nature: ‘‘For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.’’ (verse 20 ESV). However, he did not hesitate to mention that man — whether Jews or Gentiles — could only be put right in the sight of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Then, he put this forward: ‘‘Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [hilasterion: an expiatory (place or thing), i.e. (concretely) an atoning victim, or (specifically) the lid of the Ark (in the Temple):- mercyseat, propitiation] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness [dikaioyne: equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification:- righteousness] for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just [dikaios: equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively):- just, meet, right, righteous], and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’’
Jesus Christ became the victim of God’s wrath by atoning for the sins of all — both Jews and Gentiles. Rather than punish man adequately for his sins, God exercised patience (as in the Old Testament times), which made Him seem unjust. However, at the death of Jesus, the penalty of sin was adequately paid for, something God overlooked. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross further demonstrates that God never forgives any sin, which is not adequately paid for as Christ death satisfied God’s anger against sinful man. This is why He is called the righteous and just — fair, impartial — God. And by the death of Jesus Christ (God’s holy demand for forgiveness of sin), all was made right with God in character and act so that we could be accepted by Him without guilt of sin.
‘‘God gave Jesus as a way to forgive people’s sins through their faith in him. God can forgive them because the blood sacrifice of Jesus pays for their sins. God gave Jesus to show that he always does what is right and fair. He was right in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. And in our own time he still does what is right. God worked all this out in a way that allows him to judge people fairly and still make right any person who has faith in Jesus.’’ (ERV)
Meditation: God sacrificed His Only Son to satisfy His anger against man!
Prayer: Lord You justified me in Your sight through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ; may I stand justified in Your sight through faith in Your Son that I may have no reason to boast.
Question: How did God satisfy His anger against sinful man?