Saturday, 20 April 2013
…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 4:25
This final verse of chapter four explains the marvel of the finished work of Jesus. He “was delivered up because of our offenses.” Sins committed by the fallen sons of Adam must be punished. God cannot arbitrarily overlook sin without violating His own righteousness. Every sin must be punished. And the punishment must be perfectly executed. Therefore, there are only two possibilities –
1) Punishment in the one who commits the sin. A finite sin committed against an infinite Creator requires an infinite punishment – condemnation and eternal separation.
2) Punishment in a perfect Substitute. An animal cannot substitute because it is in a different category. Another person born from man cannot substitute because that person bears Adam’s sin. Thus Jesus is the only acceptable Sacrifice apart from option 1. He was born of God through a woman. He is the God/Man.
Jesus was delivered up for the sins of the world and, as Paul has clearly laid out, the justifying work of His sacrifice can only be received by faith. There is nothing we can do to add to what He has done for us. This is why Abraham is used as the preeminent example of this. Abraham looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah –
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” John 8:56
Is it really that hard to believe? The answer demands an affirmative. Very few in proportion to the total number of people in the world today have grasped the truth that an itinerant preacher in the little nation of Israel came to redeem the world. They reject the premise and rail against it. The only hope of their salvation is shunned because of an inability to perceive the marvelous workings of God.
However, Paul doesn’t finish with the cross, but he completes the gospel by stating that Jesus “was raised because of our justification.” God declared us “not guilty” through the cross of Christ. All of our sin was heaped upon Him and He bore the punishment for what we have done. But Christ also carried our sins away. They were removed “as far as the east is from the west.”
Therefore, where sin is removed, there is no longer punishment for sin. After bearing our punishment, He came back to life because it was impossible for death to hold Him. The wages of sin is death; He never sinned; therefore, He came back from the grave. He was “raised because of our justification.”
In one fell swoop, God removed our sins and raised us to new life through the work of His Son. This is exactly how Paul portrays the cross and the resurrection – as a single, unified whole. They together are the work of Christ on our behalf. Now, as is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15, the victory has been realized –
“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs. 56, 57)
Life application: There is one and only one way to be reconciled to God the Father – through the work of Jesus Christ. God has shown us what is acceptable and He alone has done the work. Now by simple faith in what Jesus did, we stand justified, holy, and righteous before God.
Heavenly Father, I long for the day when I stand in Your presence and walk in Your light. And it has been made possible because of the precious Lamb without spot or blemish, my Lord Jesus. How great is Your love that You would place my sin and punishment upon Him and grant me His righteousness. I cannot grasp the depth of Your love. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.