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Rev. Peter Greiner

Sun 17 Mar

The paragraph before us this morning is Romans 3:21-26. It is the passage in the Bible that most simply and clearly answers the question, “Why did God the Father have to send Christ , his beloved Son, to die on the cross?”

Paul says that the work of Christ for our salvation was a work of redemption v24. Apart from Christ, we are guilty sinners, under God’s wrath and so liable to all sufferings in the present life, liable to physical death, and to the pains of hell forever v23. That is a bad situation from which we can’t release ourselves. The death of Christ was a payment – a ransom – that purchased our release, our redemption.

Paul also describes the death of Christ as a sacrifice of atonement v25. The word means a sacrifice that ended God’s wrath. While we were guilty, God was angry. Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty of our sin in our place. We are therefore no longer guilty because that price has been paid, and because we are no longer guilty, therefore God is no longer angry.

Paul also says is that God sent Christ to die for us because he does not forgive us without punishing our sin v26. God is infinitely perfectly righteous, perfectly just. God always punishes every sin, all sin. He either punishes it and us in hell, or he has punished it in Christ. Either way, God is righteous and every misdeed has from him its judgment.

Because this is a teaching passage, God’s first aim here is that we should understand, believe and accept fully this teaching. That is first. Then the teaching will progressively change our lives.