- Acquittal: It is God who justifies. We spent one entire sermon on justification, so I won’t review all of that, but remember the definition: The legal action of God based on the righteousness of Christ whereby he declares believing sinners forgiven of sin and righteous. Remember too that being declared righteous involves being declared clean and having the righteousness of Christ imputed to you (2 Cor. 5:21). The other crucial part of this is the subject of the clause. Who is the one doing the justification? God. And can God’s actions be undone? Does God fail? You haven’t justified yourself. God is the one who justifies.
- Atonement: When another accusation is leveled, “Who is to condemn?” The answer quickly comes back, “No one.” We learned at the beginning of this chapter that there is now no condemnation for whom? For those who are in Christ Jesus. Paul answers the question with clarity: Christ Jesus is the one who died. If you are a believer in Jesus then you are “in Christ” because he offered himself for you as a substitutionary atonement.
- Definition: Jesus took on the sins of His people and substituted Himself in their place taking on the judgment and wrath of God in their stead.
- Explanation: 2 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Read Romans 3:23-26. This is the classic statement of the great central doctrine of the Atonement. These two verses in Romans explain the cross. God presented Jesus as a sacrifice to display His justice. The cross shows God’s judgment against sin. Every sin will be punished. Every sin demands a full outpouring of the wrath of God. God is just in redeeming those who have faith in Jesus because Christ’s sacrifice pays the penalty for their sin. It satisfies the requirements of God’s justice. God is just because their sins have been punished in Christ – he didn’t allow sin and rebellion to go without penalty. God is the justifier because he atoned for their sins allowing Him to declare the believer “not guilty.”