Romans 3:21-31

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Thesis of Romans

Redemption [3:24]

Expiation [3:25]

Expiation or Propitiation? Can I have a third option?

In other texts it is clear that this is a sacrifice. Romans is vague about the hilasterion being a sacrifice – other than the mention of blood.

Paul is probably borrowing the word from its Jewish and ritual context. It is very “Exodus.”

There is a paradox here in that God propitiates God. Separating it out so that Christ propitiates God sets up a hero/villain battle.

Beware Vampire Christianity – we need Christ for his blood.

Thesis Statements

  1. God’s righteousness is being revealed – it’s news!
  2. Jesus is the means and agent through whom God is “demonstrating” it.
  3. Faithfulness and Righteousness are connected in a significant way.

What Is Faith?


Faith and Jesus Christ

The Faith Of Jesus Christ

From Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, by Ben Witherington, III:

So What Does It Mean?

  1. Jesus’ sacrifice is more than an offering of him.
  2. Jesus “faithfully” offers himself.
  3. Jesus reveals God’s way of making humans righteous with God.
  4. We share Christ’s faith (see 4:16)
  5. No contradiction with Galatians 2:16, Philippians 1:29, Colossians 2:5

If we translate faith as “belief” then we are concerned that we cannot know everything that Christ believed. But if we use the fuller meaning of faith as the complete human response then it makes more sense.
The is no contradiction of a confessional faith in Jesus Christ (as with the other texts). But the context of Romans shapes the interpretation.

Paul’s Diatribe (3:27-31)

  1. Where’s our confidence?
  2. Is righteousness obtained through the law? No, faith.
  3. God is God of Jew and gentile.
  4. All accepted on faith.
  5. Faith does not destroy the law but strengthens it!
    (We don’t follow the law through understanding or legal inquiry, but through faith – obedience of heart.)

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 23 November 2008

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