daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 28th Week of the Year, October 17, 2013
Rom. 3:21-30, Ps. 129, Luke 11:47-54

We are "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed" (Rom. 3:24-25 NKJV).

We are forgiven for our sins and saved by the merits of the death of Jesus Christ the Son of God on the cross, when we put our faith in him. This is so, because God set him up as a propitiation in his blood, shed in punishment for our sins on the cross. That is, at the initiative of the Father (Rom. 8:32) Christ was crucified to propitiate God's justice and to placate his holy and righteous wrath against us because of our sins (Rom. 1:18; 5:9). Jesus is the one "whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith" (Rom. 3:25 NKJV). Christ propitiated God's justice by suffering the just punishment for our sins for us and instead of us on the cross. He took our part and suffered what we in all justice should have suffered in punishment for our sins. In this way he saved us from the righteous and holy wrath of God against us because of our sins. Thus "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2 NKJV). This is applied to us when we put our faith in Christ and in the efficacy of his blood, shed for us, for he is "a propitiation by His blood, through faith" (Rom. 3:25 NKJV). "Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God" (Rom. 5:9).

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7). God reconciled us to himself through Christ, "making peace by the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:20). "And you ... he has now reconciled in his body by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him" (Col. 1:22).

So it is, because God punished and condemned our sins in the flesh of Christ on the cross in order to fulfill the law for us, the law that says that the sinner is to die for his sins (Gen 2:17; Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23). "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:3-4). In other words, since God punished our sins in the flesh of Christ on the cross, Christ therefore, in dying in punishment for our sins, fulfilled for us the law that says that we should die for our sins. So now we do not have to die eternally for our sins.

By redeeming us in this way God proved to us that he was indeed righteous and just, even though he just passed over Old Testament sins in his patience without there being any adequate propitiation offered for them, because the Old Testament sacrifices were not adequate to propitiate God's justice for our sins, "for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). So God did not seem to be just. But now in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross God manifests his personal righteousness and justice, that is, that he is truly just, for the death of Christ on the cross adequately propitiated God's justice for all the sins of the world.

In the very same act (the death of Christ on the cross) God also manifested his justifying justice, that is, his justice which justifies us who believe in Christ. This justifying justice declares and makes us truly righteous. God did all this "to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26 NKJV).


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