Saturday in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 3:25b-26, 31

The Just One and the Justifier; the High Priest and the Sacrifice

We said yesterday that this entire passage (and frankly all of Romans) is about, not our righteousness (since we have none), but about the righteousness of God.  We noted that God is righteous in His infinite moral and holy character.  But we also rejoiced over the marvelous news that through His Son’s sacrificial atonement for our sins, God now counts us righteous before Him (covers us with His Son’s righteousness, that is) and has thereby brought us back into fellowship with Himself.  Paul writes in another place about this righteousness that God gives us through Christ that he wants to “be found in [Christ] not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9).

Referring to these two ways of speaking of God’s righteousness, Paul later calls God the Just One and the Justifier.  He is the Just One in that He is infinitely moral and holy; He is the Justifier in that He justifies (makes right) the one who believes in Christ Jesus.  It makes perfect sense: Only the perfectly Just One has the right and ability to justify others.  But this also reminds us of a similar passage in Hebrews 9:11-28 about our Lord and Savior.  There, Jesus is referred to as the High Priest who alone is worthy to enter the true holy place, not made with hands.  And what did this High Priest offer as sacrifice for the sins of his people?  He offered himself.  Thus, just as our God and Father is both the Just One and Justifier of those who believe, so our Lord Jesus Christ is both the High Priest and Sacrifice on behalf of those who believe.  Isn’t the plan of salvation wonderful?  Isn’t God beyond mysterious?  No wonder Paul could say, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways” (11:33).

Apparently the question was raised as to how God could be just while passing over the sins of former generations before Christ.  Should not God have visited them with His wrath which is mentioned in 1:18?  Paul again shows us the grace of God in His divine forbearance or restraint with those generations before, a forbearance He now shows all people before the return of His Son when divine patience and mercy will be finally exhausted (2:4-5).  And as for we who know the Lord, who were saved under the “law of faith,” ours is now a different task: To uphold the law.  What law?  The law of Moses?  The law of conscience?  No.  We now uphold the law of Christ, a law that goes beyond the other laws—the liberating law of love (James 1:25).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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