Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 3:24-4:1
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 3:24, 25
v24 (continued): God is able to give this gift of righteousness to those who have faith, not because He is morally indifferent to their sins, but because someone else has paid their penalty. The self-sacrifice of Jesus appeased God’s justice and restores His relationship with the sinner. v25: By telling us that God “set forth” Jesus as a propitiation Paul wants us to understand that the Father is the One finally responsible for making it possible for us to be forgiven. Of course Jesus, the Son, freely offered Himself to the Father’s plan (Php 2:5-8; Mt 26:39, 42, 44), but we must not think for a moment that the Father only reluctantly accepted His Son’s sacrifice. He sent His Son and displayed Him on a public cross so all might see that the Father is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v26). He who demands just punishment for sin is also the One who provided the way to grant mercy to sinful humans.

Monday: Romans 3:25
v25 (continued): Paul says that by shedding His blood Jesus became the “propitiation” for those who have faith. The Greek word Paul uses (hilasterion) is identical to the word translated “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5, and is the word used repeatedly in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament written over two centuries before Christ) for the “mercy seat” in the tabernacle (Ex 25:17-22; Lev 16:2, 13, 14, 15). Each year on the Day of Atonement the high priest entered the Holy of holies to sprinkle blood on the “mercy seat” (“propitiatory”).

Tuesday: Romans 3:25
v25 (continued): This was the name given to the gold lid on top of the Ark of the Covenant (Lev 16:14). Golden cherubim knelt on either side of this plate, covered it with their wings and gazed down at its surface. It was here that the highest act of atonement in Israel’s sacrificial system took place. The blood being offered was the “propitiation” for the sins of the entire nation. So by choosing this term Paul is explaining to us that the blood Jesus shed on the cross (His sacrificial death) was considered by God to be the true “propitiation” for the collective sin of the human race. The ram’s blood offered by the high priest was only a prophetic symbol pointing forward in time to His death. Those who place their faith in Him receive His “propitiation” and for them God’s justice has been fully appeased.

Wednesday: Romans 3:25, 26
v25 (continued): When Christ died on the cross the Father proved to the world that He is righteous. At last all could see that His mercy is not unjust but was based on the fact that He had arranged for His justice to be satisfied by a ransom payment sufficient to cover the debt due for the crime. And it was because He knew He would do this that allowed Him to forgive the sins of those who lived during the period of history from Adam to the resurrection of Christ. Though these people lived and died before Jesus came, God still forgave their sins when they repented and had faith that He would be merciful. v26: Because of Christ the Father is able to both punish sin and be patient with sinful humans. In Romans 2:4 Paul explains that this is why God is able to be patient (anoche) with individual sinners. Now in 3:25, 26 he explains that Christ is also the reason God was able to be patient (anoche) with the generations who live in pre-Christ antiquity.

Thursday: Romans 3:27, 28
vs27, 28: Again addressing his remarks to Jews (and anyone else who knows the Bible and tries to obey it) Paul says that this perspective on God’s patience (vs 25, 26) should strip away any thought that God had been patient with them because they kept His Law. During all those centuries they had been riding on His mercy which had been made possible by the future death and resurrection of His Son. It’s a grave mistake to think that anyone deserves God’s patient care because he or she had been so successful at keeping the Law. No, the only “law” in which anyone should “boast” is the law that God will give mercy to those who have faith. We must clearly establish it in our thinking that people become pleasing to Him because of faith, not because they’ve earned His favor. We must transfer our faith from keeping the Law to trusting in the mercy of God.

Friday: Romans 3:29-31
v29: If faith rather than keeping the Law is the way to salvation then the door is wide open for Gentiles as well. And though God loves Israel and gave that nation a special level of care and revelation, He nonetheless created and loves the Gentile people as well (Ro 2:11). vs30, 31: Whether a person is a Jew, marked with the covenant symbol of circumcision (Ge 17:10-14), or a Gentile, uncircumcised, both must come to God the same way—by faith. This doesn’t mean that all the wonderful revelations of God’s will in the Bible have no purpose. Nor does it mean that in the centuries before Christ, God hoped people would keep His Law but as the years went by discovered they were unable to do so and His plan had failed. To think such a thing is to entirely misunderstand why God gave the Law in the first place. Actually, the Law perfectly accomplished what He sent it to do which was to reveal human sin so we might discover how desperately we need His mercy. At no point in time did He think the Law was going to save people.

Saturday: Romans 4
Having proven that every person, whether Jew or Gentile, needs to be saved, Paul now turns to Abraham to show us that there is only one way to be saved, and there has only been one way since the beginning of the human race, and that is the righteousness God gives to those who have faith. In essence, Abraham was the first “Jew.” Prior to him there were righteous people here and there but the nation of Israel did not exist. Abraham himself began life as a “Gentile” being raised in an idol-worshipping family (Josh 24:2) in “Ur of the Chaldeans” (Ge 11:27-31). He grew up in a pagan religious center located about 220 miles southeast of what is today Baghdad, Iraq.

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