For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
–Romans 3:23-24

In Romans 3:11-21, Paul said that God’s righteousness is based on the work of Christ. Salvation is offered as a gift, but it is based on the work of Christ. A great misunderstanding about salvation is this: “When God forgives you, He overlooks your sin.” No, a holy God cannot do that. God said, “The person who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Our sin creates a debt that has to be satisfied. What about Romans 3:25, which says, “In the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed”? That was only for a short time. Yes, God passed over sins until Christ came. Then the full wrath of God was poured out on Christ, who had to satisfy that debt.

First, notice in Romans 3:24 Paul used the word “redemption.” He talked about “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Christ redeemed us. The Bible tells us that we were all born into Satan’s slave market. He was our owner. He had full rights over us. He was free to abuse, to torture, to kill us. But God, for no other reason than His great love for us, sent His Son, Jesus, to be the payment for our sins–and Jesus Christ redeemed us. By His blood Jesus purchased us and delivered us out of Satan’s sin market into the presence of God. The Bible says because we now belong to God, we are not free to live however we want to live. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Christ has redeemed us. He purchased us out of Satan’s slave market of sin.

Another word Paul used in this passage to describe Christ’s work for us is the word “propitiation.” He said, “God displayed [Jesus] publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (Romans 3:25). “Propitiation” means satisfaction or appeasement. When Christ redeemed us, He appeased the demands of a holy God. Some people find this idea offensive. They say, “I don’t want to think of God as a bloodthirsty deity who demands satisfaction.” They say, “Pagan religions teach that there are many false gods who demand to be appeased, so people engage in religious ritual to try to appease an angry god. We want no part of a religion like that.” But there is a difference between all the other religions of the world and Christianity. In all the other religions of the world, it is man who is trying to propitiate and appease a god. Only in Christianity do we find that we are incapable of satisfying the requirements of God, so it is Christ who satisfies the demands of God.

A third word Paul used in this passage is “justified” (3:24). He has justified us. What is justification? Justification is the sovereign act of God by which He declares a sinner to be not guilty. It is a legal term whereby God declares a sinner to be in a right relationship with Himself.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “And Now for the Gospel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.