February 27, 2018

An Unexpected Courtroom

Romans 3:24–26

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24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

In Context:

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

An Unexpected Courtroom



Bio | Matt Pacholczyk

I have been the brunt of many Aggie jokes in my time here on earth, and most of them for good reason. But I have discovered why so many people hate Aggies: they're jealous of what we have!

Even though I attended the greatest university on the planet (Texas A&M) and learned many valuable lessons, we can all be thankful I had access to a dictionary to write this thing! Propitiation? Sheesh. Thanks, Paul.

You can usually find me over in Fort Worth serving at the Porch. I love Jesus, and I love that He changes our identity. Read on.

Central Truth

Culture will tell us "do good, get rewarded; do bad, get punished." Culture is all about performance. For the Christian, Jesus was our performance, and those who have trusted in Him are righteous before God.

Devotional | Romans 3:24–26

Picture this:

You are standing before the throne of God. There He is, the perfectly holy Judge wearing righteous robes. And there you are, ashamed and deserving of punishment for your "crime" of sin. You are...

Picture this:

You are standing before the throne of God. There He is, the perfectly holy Judge wearing righteous robes. And there you are, ashamed and deserving of punishment for your "crime" of sin. You are in awe of just how far short you fall of His standard of perfection. And the perfect and holy God holds your judgment in His hands. Speechless, you await the verdict of "guilty."

But then, something unexpected happens. The holy Judge steps off His throne of perfection and down toward you. He takes off His righteous robe and puts it on your shoulders, and then He steps off to pay the penalty for your crime. There you stand. Righteous, holy, blameless before God.

How can God be both "just" and "the justifier" of the one who has faith in Jesus? How can He both punish sin and forgive us? We need to look to the cross of Christ for our answer. God couldn't simply forget about sin. He is perfectly holy, and every sin is a blatant offense against Him. He needed to deal with it. But instead of condemning us all, which is what we deserve (Romans 6:23), He sent Jesus into this world to live the perfect life we are incapable of living and to die the death for sin that we deserve. He took the penalty on Himself so we could be free (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was the "propitiation" put forward by God for us that satisfied God's wrath (Romans 3:25). Whoever receives Jesus by "faith" is "justified," or declared righteous. Right now.

Daily, I have to fight the lie that I must "do more" or "perform" for God to gain His love and acceptance. It is difficult for me to believe that, once I have received Jesus Christ by faith, my identity is as a righteous son right now without doing anything else or needing more time to clean up my act. This is such a vital truth for us to grasp. If you have, by faith, trusted that Jesus paid the penalty for you, God sees you as righteous, now. And that will never change.

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Discussion Questions

1. If others examined the last week of your life, what would they say motivates your actions? An identity as a son or daughter of God, or something else?

2. Take some time today to search the Scriptures and meditate on passages that deal with our identity in Christ.

3. What can you do today to inform your heart about the holiness of God?

4. What can you do today to inform your heart about the goodness and grace of God?

13 Comments available

Sue Bohlin 6 months ago

Great job, Matt. I’ve never seen so many different ways of proclaiming and celebrating the gospel as what we’ve seen on JTJ in Romans!

I appreciated this wisdom from Dr. Constable’s notes:

“Do not confuse justification and sanctification. Sanctification is the process whereby God makes the believer more and more like Christ. Sanctification may change from day to day. Justification never changes. When the sinner trusts Christ, God declares him righteous, and that declaration will never be repealed. God looks on us and deals with us as though we had never sinned at all!”

I love the truth that God declared me righteous the moment I trusted Christ, and now for 44 years He has been making me righteous as He grows Christlikeness in me.

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

Josh McDowell thinks of some terms as more manword and some more Godward: Expiation and Redemption - focused more on man Propitiation - focused more on God, a satisfaction on God’s part Is 53:11, His justice satisfied, his wrath abated

I was reading different articles on propitiation and I liked these two for short summaries:

Notes from a DA Carson talk "https://timchester.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/new-word-alive-don-carson-on-the-cross-and-propitiation/"

The Gospel Coalition had a good short article which warned against trying to using your own limited means of bribing God and instead resting on what He did for you "https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/pagan-propitiation-vs-biblical-propitiation/"

Ps 49:7-9

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

Part of the ‘unexpected courtroom’ is in the words of John Murray, the wrathful judge is also a loving judge

"It is one thing to say that the wrathful God is made loving. That would be entirely false. It is another thing to say the wrathful God is loving. That is profoundly true. But it is also true that the wrath by which he is wrathful is propitiated through the cross. This propitiation is the fruit of the divine love that provided it. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:10). "

VO NGUYEN 6 months ago

(2) A long time ago, my leader asked me a question, “Who are you?” I had trouble figuring out an answer while letting down my pride, but I eventually said I am a child of God. At that time, I didn’t really know what that meant. As I grew in my faith in the next couple of years, it dawned on me that I need to know my identity. There are a ton of verses that deal with this, but the theme is consistent. I am loved by a God, who died on the cross to redeemed us and given us the gift of grace. I am now a child of God, blessed with an eternal gift. 1 John 3: 19 is the passage I meditated on.

greg jones 6 months ago

“Picture this…” I thought it great how that idea of judgement was set up. To answer any of the four questions I begin with: Imagine that-God’s judgement is not the depth of God but the surface of God. His provisions, our justification, is not the depth of him but the relationship to him is revealed in the provision. We fall in love with the heart of God rather than the hand of God. Imagine that, God has invited me to know his heart, how now will I enjoy his provision?

Autumn Zevely 6 months ago

Praise God! "If you have, by faith, trusted that Jesus paid the penalty for you, God sees you as righteous, now. And that will never change." I recently was wrestling w/that I deserve to struggle as I made poor choices & am a single mom. Then I thought, how arrogant of me. Jesus paid that already. He paid ALL my debt. Then this reminder this morning. Awesome!

Autumn VerHoef 6 months ago

Whoop! Great devo Matt! Class of '13 here. Haters gonna hate.

Autumn Zevely 6 months ago

LOVE this! “He sent Jesus into this world to live the perfect life we are incapable of living and to die the death for sin that we deserve.”

Trey Collins 6 months ago

Great stuff Matt! Just know this devo was shared with my regen group today and was a source of blessing for many of us. Praying for you this morning!

Hope Harris 6 months ago

GM friends I am posting and reflecting on Romans 3:22-26 in the Message version this morning. I will post my thoughts on this tomorrow Part 1 22-24 Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.

Hope Harris 6 months ago

Part 2 God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness. (Romans 3:25-26 Message)

Ronnie Oldfield 6 months ago

Way to overcome your “Aggiedom”. You wrote a beautiful devo today. Ty Matt. The awesome journey editors can really make writers look great!!! The awesome love of God to stand beside me - because I believe He has redeemed me. Wow. He knows everything I have done and is still willing to have Ronnie Oldfield as a son, how awesome is that. I kept scrolling through your questions to find the last one “How many Aggies does it take to write a great devo”. Duh, one if the writer is Matt!!!

Hugh Stephenson 6 months ago

Today, I am reflecting on propitiation; hilastērion:(partly) an atoning victim, placating, amends, reparation.

Awhile back I was immensely edified by this video we showed on Easter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbd4Dt0OhZM.

I finally understood that the real penalty Jesus paid was being separated from God.

I am taught the Bible is an 800,000 word love letter in which only two things matter: relating to Him and relating to others.

He suffered the loss of relationship so that I would never have to.

My works are nothing. I am guilty. The work of Jesus is everything.

Matthew Henry - “It is in vain to seek for justification by the works of the law. All must plead guilty. Guilty before God, is a dreadful word; but no man can be justified by a law which condemns him for breaking it. The corruption in our nature, will forever stop any justification by our own works.”

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