Sermon – July 11, 2021
Romans 3:21-26 (Part 2) – Jesus Died in Our Place (mp3)
Previously, as we walked through the first part of these verses, we saw that God’s salvation did not simply entail the putting aside of his justice, but rather the upholding of it. Oddly, when turning to our salvation, Paul notes that God has manifested his righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. All that is good! But how, precisely, does the work of Jesus make God both the just one and the justifier of sinners? How can God be both faithful to his promises to be merciful and bless us and faithful to his promise to punish sin? By having Jesus Christ, his faithful servant, die in our place!
1. The pronouncement of our salvation
Justification can be overestimated, in one sense. We ought to be somewhat flexible with what we mean by it, and how closely we hold it. Yet, at the same time, we know that others have flexed it so much they have broken it off completely. The word simply has a forensic sence: it is the judgment that God makes over us, that we do not deserve death. But why is this so?
2. The process of our salvation
Paul remarks, collecting together a wide-variety of biblical terms and referents, that Jesus is the sum total of the sacrificial system. He is our deliverer, our blood sacrifice, our burnt offering, our scapegoat, our high priest, the very place where God and man meet in our salvation. In other words, we are spared because God cannot send us to death – for Jesus has died that death for us. God’s justice demands our justification, for God in Jesus has already fulfilled his wrath in the penalty of our death.
3. The purpose of our salvation
The end of this is to show that God is indeed the one who will both uphold justice and, without contradiction or full intent, justify the sinner who believes in Jesus Christ. By doing so, God shows his majesty in that he needs nothing from us, but instead gives us a full and sufficient salvation through his own work. Yet, it is important to not simply consider these things in abstract but to remember: these things were done for us. Jesus died for you, friend, that you might also be justified by faith!