God Was On Trial in the Gospel: Romans 3:24-26
“24) being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25) 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; 26) 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.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:24-26‬
Paul now focuses on a concept that escapes the notice of the casual reader. It is easy to conclude that humanity was on trial in the gospel, but Paul points out that God was also on trial. His justice was at stake. This portion of his argument is absolutely profound and must not be minimized.
Whatever plan for human redemption God chose had to not only pay the whole debt of human sin, but do it so completely and abundantly that it leaves God absolutely just in justifying the one who has faith in Jesus. (Vs 26) The sacrifice of His Son on the cross had to measure and even surpass the offense of human sin to be considered propitiatory.
The word “propitiation” means “satisfaction.” It has in it the idea that the price had to match or surpass the offense. God could not cut Himself a cheap deal for human redemption and remain just. Let’s briefly examine whether or not the price matches the crime of human sinfulness.
Five things stand out in the Bible about the cost God paid for human redemption. First, it was public. It was not a deal cut in secret.(Romans 3:25) Second, the price of human redemption cost God His Only Begotten Son. God gave His most precious Son. (John 3:16) Third, the cost was higher than any monetary value can calculate. It cannot be measured in terms of gold or silver. (1 Peter 1:18-19) Forth, the sacrifice satisfied the sin debt of the offense of all of humanity. On the cross, Jesus paid for all human sin, past, present and future. (1 John 2:2, Romans 3:25c) Fifth, the cost of human redemption left God absolutely righteous in giving salvation as a free gift of grace to those who place faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:24-26)
There are many verses we could sight in the Bible to support these five points, but Paul concludes that “God is Just, and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (See Romans 3:26) The Gospel not only provides a way of human salvation, it also vindicated the justice and holiness of God through the process.
There was much more at play in the gospel story than most people ever imagine. God did for humanity what humanity could not do for itself. Salvation was not earned by human effort, it was purchased by Jesus Christ on the cross.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global