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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Romans 3:21-27 – How Jesus helped us

In yesterday’s reading, we noted that Paul stated that Jesus had provided redemption and propitiation on behalf of sinners and indicated we would think a bit more in today’s reading about what he provided.
When saying that Jesus is the Redeemer, Paul may have in mind the way that slaves were liberated. This would be the Gentile use of the word. A slave would be liberated from his bondage through a new master paying a price for him. Jesus came into the slave market of this world and paid the price so that those in bondage to sin would be liberated. The price he paid was his own blood when he offered himself on the cross.
If Paul is using the idea with a Jewish background, then he would have in mind the person known as the Kinsman Redeemer. If a man got into debt or was enslaved, then his brother was responsible for setting him free. Jesus became our brother when he became a man, and took on himself our responsibilities and debts. Our responsibility was to obey God’s law and our debt was to pay the penalty for our failure to do so. Jesus, our brother, did that for those who would believe in him. Throughout his life he obeyed God’s law perfectly and on the cross he paid the penalty fully when he suffered in our place.
The other experience that Paul says happened to Jesus was that he became the propitiation. This is a sacrificial term that means the bearing of wrath or the turning away of wrath. God was angry with us; we were the children of wrath. That wrath which we should have borne, Jesus bore it. He experienced it on the cross. Because he, the Redeemer, became the wrath bearer, we can receive the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus.
So God shows to us his amazing righteousness, that he remains just when he justifies the sinner who believes in Jesus. His wonderful law has been magnified by Jesus, its penalty has been paid by Jesus, and its breakers can be forgiven because of Jesus.

Paul in verse 27 says something surprising. What stops us boasting? We might think that he would say that we would cease boasting because we had failed to keep the law. Instead he says that we cease boasting because we have been justified by faith. A Jew could not boast in his religious privileges and a Gentile could not boast in his achievements because as far each is concerned he had to be delivered by Jesus. Paul is saying here, is he not, that a believer is a humble person? It is the evidence that we live by the law of faith.

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