All of humanity is equally under the wrath of God and rightly deserves the judgment of God (1:18–3:20). Everyone has personally committed unrighteous acts against God and everyone lacks the ability to reflect the image of God and measure up to His standard of righteousness - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23
What can be done? God has justified the unrighteous.
being justified - God has justified the sinner by declaring the him righteous.
freely - God has given His righteousness to the unrighteous as a gift.
by His grace - God has given His righteousness to the unworthy who do not deserve it and could never earn it.
through the redemption - God has set free the guilty from under the bondage of law and the power of sin and the condemnation of death.
that is in Christ Jesus - God’s Son has fulfilled the obligation of the law, paid the debt of sin, and suffered the penalty of judgment. He is the Redeemer.
But there is still a problem that must be solved. How can justification be done?
- God could rightly judge sinful humanity but then His creation would be a failure.
- God could refrain from judging unrighteous humanity but then He would fail.
- The question is not: How can God justly punish people? The question is: How can God justly forgive sinners?
whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood - God’s judging righteousness was vindicated by the sacrifice of His Son.
- God is the holy righteous Judge and in order to maintain His holy righteousness He cannot refrain from punishing the guilty - Romans 1:18, 32; 2:2, 6, 16
- God the Father determined to openly display the sacrifice of His Son.
- The shed blood of Christ in the new covenant is shown to be superior to the limited and ineffective blood sacrifices of the old covenant.
- Propitiation refers to the mercy seat that covered the Ark of the Covenant in the holy of holies where the sacrificial blood was sprinkled to make atonement (satisfaction and removal of guilt) on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16).
- God’s wrath has now been appeased by the blood of Jesus.
- God’s justice (judging righteousness) has been satisfied by the blood of Christ.
25 - God’s righteousness was called into question because in the past He put up with sin and held back the final judgment of sinners (because in His plan He looked ahead to the sacrifice of Jesus). God is now vindicated because justice has been satisfied in Christ.
26 - Because God rightly judged sin (in Christ) He can now rightly justify sinners (in Christ). God can be a righteous justifier because He justifies on the basis of faith in Christ rather than on the basis of works of the law.