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Featured Romans 3:26 Often Misused (God is Just and the Justifier of sinners)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, Nov 20, 2023.

  1. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Reading arguments on this forum it occurs to me that Romans 3:26 is often taken out of its context and misused (I have done this as well).

    Many have argued this as a type of problem or solution to how God has forgiven people without becoming unjust. I have argued the same - that God recreates man (man must die to sin, must be "born from above", born of the Spirit. While many things stated about God being Just and justifying sinners is true, we have to consider the passage itself. I contend that it has been taken out of context.

    Romans 3:21-26

    But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 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; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


    The passage tells us that now (here Paul is speaking of the New Covenant era) apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested. The Law and the Prophets (the OT) bore testimony.

    There is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles (see previous passage) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

    We are justified as a gift by His grace through redemption which is in Jesus, Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith.


    This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    OK, now to the topic - where does God being just and justifier fit in?

    It fits in with God demonstrating His righteousness, BECAUSE in the forbearance of God He passed over sins previously committed for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


    God as just and justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ speaks to the reason God passed over sins previously committed. It speaks to the reason for the OT system of passing over sins. The point is not that God had to do this or that to be just while justifying sinners. The point is that God justifies the one who has faith in Jesus and this is the reason He passed over sins committed. The just part is not punishing sins but Jesus Christ Himself.
     
  2. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Romans 3:25-26, ". . . . Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. . . ."
     
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  3. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Yep. When we remove part of the passage from the rest it takes on an entirely different meaning.

    But the topic was, as your post points out, the reason God passed over previous sins until the Resurrection. It was to declare at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.

    But think how often we see that passage taken out of context to explain the Cross rather than the reason God passed over previous sins until the New Covenant age.
     
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  4. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    One can believe that it teacbes both. One needs to ask why either must excludes the other?
     
    #4 37818, Nov 20, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2023
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I don't think so (for that passage).

    It seems that the passage presupposes that God is just and that God is the justifier of those who have faith in Christ. I do not think that Paul was explaining that at all.

    Instead I believe that Paul was speaking of the reason that God passed over sins of the past.
     
  6. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Christ:s work on the cross was to be a propitiation through faith in his blood. And how it applies both before and after the cross. And that God through the cross is both just and merciful.
     
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  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree. I just don't believe that was Paul's point in that passage. He seems to be speaking about why God passed over past sins until that time (with God bring just and justifying those who have faith in Christ).

    BUT your point is the reason for the second point

    Here is how I would write out the connection in the passage,:

    We are justified as a gift
    by His grace
    through redemption
    which is in Jesus,
    Whom God displayed publicly
    as a propitiation
    in his blood
    through faith.


    This was to demonstrate
    His righteousness,
    because in the forbearance of God
    He passed over the sins
    previously committed;
    for the demonstration, I say,
    of His righteousness
    at the present time,
    so that He would be just and the justifier
    of the one
    who has faith in Jesus.

    Edit : Sorry, my indentions didn't carry over to the post....but you get the gist.
     
  8. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    Would you not agree that the passage, as you say, has been used to explain the cross --
    "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…. and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." {vs 22 & 24}

    If we look back to vs 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” we see that we all stand condemned before the bar. None can claim a right standing in His court.

    -- and also be used to provide the reason that God passed over the sins prior to the cross?

    God did not ignore the sins committed prior to the cross but He did tolerate them just as He tolerates the sins we commit now. Those who prior to the cross trusted in the Messiah to come just as we who trust in the Messiah that has come will be saved. "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." {vs 28}
     
  9. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Yes. I believe that :

    But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 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

    explains our salvation as being God's righteousness manifested apart from the Law, as testified by the OT, by faith in Jesus Christ.

    Nobody stands before God on their own merit (God's righteousness manifested through the Law simply wouldn't work in our favor).
     
  10. Silverhair

    Silverhair Well-Known Member

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    @JonC in the OP you wrote "The just part is not punishing sins but Jesus Christ Himself."

    When you refer to Christ Jesus as the just part what do you mean? Are you referring to Him as the propitiation for our sins or something else?
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I do not recall posting that (if I did, it was incorrect and is not what I believe). If you have the reference I'll look and see just how bad I screwed it up. :(

    Reading the passage it appears to me that the "just" part was explaining why God passed over past sins. One could say that is unjust, for God will punish the wicked. But it wasn't because He passed over their sins to that specific time.
     
  12. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Oh ...I'm sorry....I misread your post.

    Yes, the just part was not God punishing sins.

    The passage tells us how God why God passed over those sins - that He would be just and justified of those who have faith in Christ

    The just part is Jesus Himself. There is no condemnation in Christ, men are recreated, the "old man" has died, the "heart of stone" removed, the "old spirit" removed. It is a recreation. Our salvation and justification is Jesus Himself, Him in us and us in Him.
     
  13. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    I thought it odd, it's the very concept you've been opposing all this time, right?

     
  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Yep. I didn't word it correctly (wasn't thinking.....I do that sometimes).

    I meant justice was not God punishing sin but it is Jesus Christ Himself (in the passage).
     
  15. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    The 'penal' part of PSA you oppose is God punishing Jesus, right?
     
  16. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Partly. I disagree with the whole theory (I do not believe it accurately presents divine justice, Christ's suffering and death.....I disagree with it as a whole).

    I believe Christus Victor/ Random the more biblical view.

    But here I was saying that God as just and justifier of those who have faith in Christ simply does not apply to the argument, although many make it central (like a problem....how can a Just God justify via faith in Christ, which Scripture directly answers as the righteousness of God apart from the Law).
     
  17. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    I'm not understanding this. Is Jesus Christ punishing sin? Or is God punishing Jesus Christ?
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I meant that "just" in the passage is not God punishing sin. "Just" in that passage is Jesus Christ (the New Covenant where we are recreated in the image of Christ, so to speak).

    I did not word my comment in the OP well.
     
  19. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mt 27

    I've always questioned/wondered about the embellishments done to this passage by the PSA camp, i.e., God pouring His wrath down on Himself....it suits me that Christ was simply 'fulfilling the scripture', directing/pointing us back to the Messianic Psalms.
     
  20. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree. But also Psalm 22 begins with those words.

    In the Psalm the Servant is unjustly suffering, crying out to God. He remembers others who were forsaken, and says that they called out and God delivered them (trusting in the righteousness of God). Then he described pretty vividly the cross, the people considered Him stricken by God but in truth He was innocent (hence His petition). And by the end of the Psalm this deliverance is realized.

    He was fulfilling the prophecy to which He alluded.
     
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