Wednesday: The Righteousness of Christ

In Romans 3:25, Paul expounds further on the great news of salvation. He uses a fancy word, propitiation. The Greek word for it, hilasterion, occurs in the New Testament only here and in Hebrews 9:5, where it is translated as “mercy-seat.” As used in Romans 3:25 to describe the offer of justification and redemption through Christ, propitiation seems to represent the fulfillment of all that was typified by the mercy-seat in the Old Testament sanctuary.

God's Law

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What this means, then, is that by His sacrificial death, Jesus has been set forth as the means of salvation and is represented as the One providing the propitiation. In short, it means that God did what was needed to save us.

The text also talks about the “remission of sins.” It is our sins that make us unacceptable to God. We can do nothing of ourselves to cancel our sins. But in the plan of redemption, God has provided a way for these sins to be remitted through faith in Christ’s blood.

The word for “remission” is the Greek paresis, literally meaning “passing over” or “passing by.” The “passing over” is in no sense an ignoring of sins. God can pass over the sins of the past because Christ has paid the penalty for all people’s sins by His death. Anyone, therefore, who has “faith in His blood” can have his or her sins remitted, for Christ has already died for him or her (1 Cor. 15:3).

Read Romans 3:26-27. What point is Paul making here?

The good news that Paul was eager to share with all who would listen was that there was available to humanity “His [that is, God’s] righteousness,” and that it comes to us, not by works, not by our merit, but by faith in Jesus and what He has done for us.

Because of the Cross of Calvary, God can declare sinners righteous and still be considered just and fair in the eyes of the universe. Satan can point no accusing finger at God, for Heaven has made the supreme sacrifice. Satan had accused God of asking of the human race more than He was willing to give. The Cross refutes this claim.

Satan, likely, expected God to destroy the world after it sinned; instead, He sent Jesus to save it. What does that tell us about the character of God? How should our knowledge of His character impact how we live? What will you do differently in the next 24 hours directly as a result of knowing what God is like?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons