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Romans 3 - Exegesis

Romans 3 - Exegesis

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INTRODUCTION Adam and Eve, created in an absolutely pristine environment, did what is now in hindsight the most unthinkable

thing and disobeyed the only prohibition that they were given. By choosing to satisfy their basic appetites the couple cast the world into a chaos and confusion that has lingered eternally. Their collective action resulted in the introduction of an etymology in which man is forever caught in a whirlpool of selfishness and humanism, where God has become totally and uniquely irrelevant and insignificant; Man became the epitome of himself ± a being that held no regard for the God of heaven ± ³like sheep gone astray«everyman to his own way.´ It was God in his sovereignty that set in motion a divine initiative for a redemptive work in history. The books of Exodus through to Deuteronomy are records of the inception and initiation of this action plan to bring man back to himself. It is in these books of the Old Testament that we get a masked picture of the initiative of salvation, sufficient for that time. The centre of this miraculous and historic unfolding surrounds the establishment of the tabernacle of God that was erected at the centre of the camp of Israel. The meticulous nature with which the instructions for this temple were communicated and the care that was given in following the instructions to the ³T´ were not only a matter of architectural or engineering significance or excellence, but more importantly, it was a representation of the desire of God to bring back to himself man whom he created and to dwell in his fullness in their midst. It was a demonstration of what would then be revealed in its fullness in the pages of the New Testament. Chapters 26 ± 40 of Exodus testify to the great detail given by God in the construction of this tabernacle ± a tabernacle finally completed in chapter 40 of the text. Of prominence in this tabernacle was the Holy of Holies, the quintessential representation and resting place of the presence and power of God on earth among his chosen people Israel. It is within the holy of holies, that the high priest made temporary atonement for himself and for the nation of Israel, via the blood

of bulls and rams for sins and transgressions, and it is there before the Ark of the Covenant that God would forgive the sins of his own. Fast forward to the New Testament centuries later and we are presented with a fuller picture of the redemptive work of God in history. Through His son Jesus Christ, God brought to completion his divine prerogative to restore man to himself ± a salvation that is both complete and continuous. It is in the words penned in Romans 3: 21 ± 26 more than any other location in the book of Romans that the theological intersections of this divine initiative are elucidated by the great orator Paul. ³Rarely does the bible bring together in so few verses so many important theological ideas: the righteousness of God, justification, the shift in salvation history, faith, sin, redemption, grace propitiation, forgiveness and the justice of God.´1 As such the importance and significance of the act of the son of God and the son himself may represent a reformation of the transcendental starting point in this parenthesises called time and redemptive history. The advent of Christ, his death, burial and resurrection represents the establishment of a new covenant under which justification and redemption were no longer garnered through temporary sacrifices as the blood of animals but through the incomparable atoning blood of the Lamb of God. The practices of the Old Testament were brought to fruition in the New Testament, convened by and through Jesus Christ himself.

JUSTIFICATION: THE FREE GIFT THROUGH FAITH
3:21 . 3:22 3:23 [ .2 ] 3: 26 , , , , , 3: 24 3:25

1 2

Douglas J. Moo, The NIV Application Commentary, Romans, (Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 125.

Charles John Ruppert, GNT, Online Greek New Testament, [resource on-line], available from http://wesley.nnu.edu/gnt/, internet, accessed 14/04/08.

2005). has gained a stranglehold on all people. their turning from him to gods of their own making renders them without excuse (Romans 1). He did this to demonstrate his justice. The poetical King James Version is very often the version of choice for most readers of the Bible. so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. For God has made himself known to all people through creation.3 Paul paves the way for this theme by explaining why it was necessary for God to manifest his righteousness and why humans can experience this righteousness only by faith. As such this version of the Bible will be used along with translations that may help our cause in this paper ± in our look at the third chapter of Romans. this version may not satisfactorily represent a proper interpretation of the text in Romans outlined above. This version is rather hard to read and uses an antiquated language. God¶s wrath. Paul affirms. experienced as a free gift through faith. and this he has 3 D. through faith in his blood. because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished 3: 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time. 3:25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement. has been made known. (Grand Rapids. 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. As such Paul makes a claim that only God can change the tragic state of affairs. There are a number of versions that will be used in this paper the primary one being the New International Version of the Bible (NIV). A Carson and Douglas J. An Introduction to the New Testament. stands over all sinners and justly so.3:21 But now a righteousness from God. However. primarily because it may have been one of the first versions to have been published but also for its poetical language. However. (New International Version). Moo. There are many versions and translations of the original Greek manuscripts part of which is outlined above. . The gospel as the righteousness of God by faith occupies centre stage for the first part of the book (1:18 ± 4:25). the condemning outflow of his holy anger. and only an act of God. 3: 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. The book of Romans is the longest and most theologically significant of Paul¶s letters. apart from law. the intention of this paper is to give as close as possible an accurate interpretation of the spirit¶s intention in the text as well as to do justice to the original Greek manuscript. This is not saying that other versions will not be employed. NIV. Michigan. can break through that stranglehold. 391. Sin. to which the Law and the Prophets testify. There is no difference. Zondervan.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 2004). since we have been justified through faith. or innocent. the divine substitute Jesus Christ. Paul in this assertion alludes to the idea that there is a new and different way of being seen as righteous in the eyes of God. before God. and the gospel he presents expands on the theme of justification by faith. This justification can be gained only through faith. The term justification or justify does not mean to ³subjectively change into a righteous person´ but instead means ³to declare righteous. Holman Reference. and ³just´ (v. legal declaration of the righteousness of the believer as well as the grounds and basis of their acceptance. ³therefore. (Nashville. It is with this in mind that Paul penned the words and theological nuances in this the third chapter of his letter to the Romans. In fact it may be said that it is the heart of the whole section that spans Romans 1:16b ± 15:13.done by making himself available. 970. Paul continues his earlier discourse which he began in chapter 1. Tennessee. Paul in his discourse takes a detour from the main line of his argument in chapter 1 to show why God¶s intervention in Christ was needed and then resumes his argument in chapter 3. this idea of righteous therefore is intimately linked to the idea of justification in light of the discourse. As Romans 5:1 states. An examination of this pericope in chapter three shows that the language of ³righteousness´ (3: 21. 26) dominates this paragraph. 26).´ specifically. The fact is that the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to the believer accounts for the resulting perfection of the relationship between the believer and God. a means of becoming righteous. through the sacrifice of his son. we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. to declare righteous upon the act of faith based upon the work of another. 22. ³justify´ (24. .´ The righteousness of God that has been imputed to men is as a 4 Chad Brand et al. 26). All these English words come from the Greek root HMOEM and as such develop one basic theme. 25.4 Justification then involves both the forensic. Verse 21 ± 26 may represent the heart and the centre of the main division of which it is a part.

so C. the resurrection and the exaltation of the Crucified. Net Bible First Edition. 6 Bible. the revelation both of the righteousness which is from God and also of the wrath of God against sin. It includes all that God did before the advent of Jesus as well as the elements of the ultimate exaltation of Christ. Thus we are judged to be not guilty by a decisive divine decision of God himself. is available to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ and is a righteousness ³apart from the law. It could be understood as either (1) logical or (2) temporal in force and may be the source of some contention. This gospel includes the crucifixion.result of God. elements because the cross by itself would have been no saving act of God. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited 38 George Street. Software package. has now taken place. redemptive act of God through which was declared righteous and just. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans.org. that the heart of the gospel preached by Paul is a series of events in the past. in the court yards of heaven declaring men to be righteous. the decisive act of God which is altogether effective and irreversible. But there is much more that is significance about this text than meets the eye.E.B Cranfield. This righteousness which is God¶s method of bringing men into right relation to Himself. It emphasizes the fact that the contrast marked by . 199 200. It shows unequivocally. 1996 2005. the once for all revelation which is the basis of the continuing revelation of the righteousness (1:17) and of the wrath (1:18) of God in the preaching of the gospel. It is a series of events which is the event of history. 1985).5 It is through the crucifixion. according to Cranfield.´ Of particular note is the phrase µBut now¶ ( ) followed by the perfect tense. is a definite righteousness. resurrection and exaltation of the crucified that God¶s righteousness has been revealed. once for all.6 Cranfield in his analysis states that in light of the contention of some commentators that RYRMhas a purely logical force in this verse must surely be rejected and its temporal significance firmly maintained. Poignantly this passage stands out in its proclamation of the fact that the one decisive. Biblical Studies Press 5 .

that of justification of justification and that . the fact that in the recent past a decisive event has taken place by which justification which is God¶s free gift ± . a genitive construction ± ³faith of Jesus Christ´ 7 8 Ibid. on the one hand. . The cross is no afterthought. However. 1977).´ The translation ³faith in Jesus Christ´ appears in all modern translations but there is a contending view that is being adopted today. Gaebelein. The Expositor s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of The Holy Bible. (Grand Rapids. points to the fulfilment of God¶s saving purpose in him. God¶ s righteousness ³has been known´ can literally be translated ³has been manifested´ ± the verb being in the perfect tense in contrast to the present tense in chapter 1:17. God in Jesus reveals His righteousness in Christ ³apart from the law´ of Moses. is formally a statement about but it also is a statement about the Old Testament. and on the other hand. 201. Frank E. Michigan. Like the ³old wineskins´ of Jesus¶ Parable (Mark 2:22) the Mosaic covenant simply cannot contain the ³new wine´ of the gospel.is now - QIRL As such this phrase may be accepted as referring to a new phase in salvation history. 41. for it affirms that the righteousness which is of God is not only attested to by the Old Testament but that the Old Testament is a witness to this righteousness.´ it has been God¶s intention from the beginning to reveal his saving righteousness by sending His son as a sacrifice for us.far from being merely a contrast between two ideas. no ³plan B. This is the discontinuity. Paul captures beautifully the continuity and discontinuity in God¶s plan of salvation and this is the relation. Zondervan Publishing House.8 This righteousness ± justification that is now imputed onto man is a free gift given to man by God through ³faith in Jesus Christ. the continuity is expressed in the idea that the entire ³Old Testament´ (the Law and the Prophets) testifies to this new work of God in Christ. This according to Gaebelein.is a contrast between the impossibility of justification by works. draws attention to the appearing of Jesus Christ in the arena of history or more specifically.

´10 Gaebelein concurs with the subjective genitive view of the phrase when he asserts that the word (pistis) evidently means faithfulness. ³we believe in Christ Jesus. that Jesus Christ is the object of the noun of ³faith. Romans. as the situation there requires. with Jesus Christ being the subject of ³faith. ³For it is by grace you have been saved. Gaebelein. However. The idea of such divine attributes being gained by works is a doctrine that is polemically denied in the bible. it is the gift of God ± not by works. This may be the assumption that is gleaned by the use of the phrase .11 The point therefore is that salvation and justification comes only through faith in Jesus and not by works.( ).9 The NIV takes this genitive to be objective. 41.´ But it can equally be a subjective genitive according to Moo. Moo. where we find the identical phrase´ through faith of Jesus Christ´ followed by the explanatory statement. the NIV translation should be regarded as legitimate and preferable. It was Paul himself that stated in Ephesians 2: 8. 9 Douglas J.´ As such both phrases. What should settle the matter therefore is the precedent in Galatians 2:16. so that no one can boast. 127 Ibid Frank E. ³faith in Jesus´ and ³faith of Jesus´ may not oppositional ideologies but may actually speak of the same thing. Evidence of this is seen when one takes a glance at the book of Mark 11:22 which seems to make it is clear that the pistis of God may mean faith in God. Even though the advent of Christ has removed the necessity of justification through the insufficient law. The Expositor s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of The Holy Bible.´ Salvation therefore is fundamentally a miracle and initiative of God towards the liberation of men from sin and oppressive systems that have kept men from fulfilling their duty to God and living a life of worship to the Christ of history and eternity. 10 11 . Consequently according to Gaebelein. The NIV Application Commentary. it does not mean that such justification through faith in Christ took place without the impetus of the law. through faith ± and this not from yourselves. that is. an adverbial phrase that modifies (a present indicative passive).

1370. Boaz purchases the land of Elimelech and in so doing. 201. the words are most naturally understood in relation to in verse 20 ± as indicating that the righteousness of God ( and ) of which verse 20 and 21 speak is manifest as something which has not been earned by men¶s fulfilment of the law. by means of redemption. Tennessee. All are under sin¶s power and all fall short. (Nashville. this may not be the meaning here. The execution of the declaration of justice on the behalf of the guilty is described by . Sin in many respects is the central identifying feature of this fallen race. It connotes the idea of paying what is required in order to liberate from oppression. Holman Reference. enslavement or another type of binding obligation. 2004).´ There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. This status of righteousness has been made available to all men on the earth as a result of the universality of sin. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.12 As such should be understood in the same way as it is understood in 1: 17. ³redeems´ Ruth 12 13 Cranfield. According to him. . As such Paul states that ³there is no difference.according to Cranfield. On the contrary passages like Galatians 3: 13 and 4: 4 suggest that he thought that it was deeply involved in the gospel events. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.´ In the book of Ruth for example. The verb ga¶al and its cognates mean to ³buy back´ or ³to redeem. Boaz acts as kinsman-redeemer to secure the freedom of Ruth from poverty and widowhood. (Ruth 2:20).´13 In the Old Testament two word groups were used to connote redemption. JUSTIFICATION THROUGH REDEMPTION Redemption means ³to pay a price in order to secure the release of something or someone. since it is clear that Paul did not think that the law was absent at the time of the manifestation referred to. In like manner all are declared righteous or justified by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. Chad Brand et al. that it is a status of righteousness that is a gift from God.

.B. on the one hand.16 Cranfield in his discourse comes to the conclusion that an absolutely confident assertion of either view can hardly be justified.¶ without any reference to the payment of a ransom. there is a marked consistency in the retention of the ransom idea. This is an idea that 14 15 Ibid. is present in the word here. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. the idea is redemption from bondage or oppression.and takes her to be his wife. B. according to Cranfield.17 Additionally. The New Testament Terminology of Redemption. typically from one¶s enemies.84f. While some like Warfield and Morris assert that the thought of PYXVSRa ransom paid.´ ³to liberate. Quoted in Cranfield. the words lutron and agorazein are used in reference to redemption. God¶s redemption of fallen humanity is costly and believers are liberated from the enslaving curse of the law. Padah. L Evangile de Dieu I pp. For example. another Old Testament word. the possibility that Paul used here without any thought of a ransom paid cannot be ruled out in face of the evidence of the Septuagint¶s use of PYXVSYWUEMand other derivatives of PYXVSRand on the other hand. L. The latter is used often to express God¶s redemptive activity in Christ. he makes the claim that the word is often used in connection with the manumission of slaves (in which a payment was involved). 16 Cambier. The former meaning ³to redeem. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. in view of the fact that µin the use of the word PYXVSRand its derivative in Greek literature. Morris.14 In our text. In the New Testament. 201 49. The Apostolic Preaching of The Cross. When ga¶al is used of God. 17 Cranfield. 201. in PTR 15 (1917).¶ µemancipation. His life and ministry ended in his sacrificial death. Quoted in Cranfield. 1955. is primarily used with regard to the redemption of persons or living things and may refer to general deliverance from trouble or distress.15 others maintain that it means simply µdeliverance. 1371. for.´ ³or ³to ransom´ and suggests the heart of Jesus¶ mission. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. (London). 206. 201. Warfield. the interpretation of is controversial.

Paul and other biblical authors portray Christ¶s sacrifice as a ³ransom´ a price paid to secure the release of captives. that is God¶s condemnation. 1 Corinthians 6:20. sinful men and women from the power and influence of sin by paying the price for our sins. to ³buy back´ man to himself and free him from the one to whom he was enslaved ± sin. The fact that the phrase is linked with means.involves God paying the price.would have been familiar to many of Paul¶s readers. This freeing of slaves ± slaves to sin . Many scripture verses attest or seem to confirm to the view of a price being paid for the freedom of the enslaved to sin. 207 . refer to Christians being ³bought with a price´. for example. This price is necessarily the blood of his son Jesus Christ. along with other supporting texts including Gal 3:13. seems to suggest the notion of God freeing the enslaved. Bu the question that one must necessarily ask is to 18 Ibid. Morris posits something similar in his analysis of the idea of redemption.18 In other words. As such Cranfield summarizes by saying that the possibility that Paul had in mind the thought of a ransom being paid when he used the word must leave the discussion open. However. His wrath. He too alludes to the notion of the release of prisoners of war or slaves or slaves under sentence of death all of which included the paying of a price. Mark 10:45 and 1 Peter 1:18. Scripture it self attests to this idea of God paying the ransom for the freedom of men. he alludes to a metaphorical meaning of the idea of redemption but still maintains that it is freedom after payment that gives these metaphorical meanings their meaning. the Greek words employed in this text with reference to the redemption of men. the condition of having an unrighteous status before him. What can be said about cannot be excluded and as such we however is that it indicates that the believer¶s righteous status has been brought about by God by means of a definite and decisive action on His own part. that the slavery from which this action of God has redeemed us must be the slavery of sin in the sense of subjection to its effects. 7:23.

In order to secure their release. So popular was this interpretation that Gustaf Aulen called it the ³classic´ view of the atonement. Sin and Salvation. Michigan: William B.whom did God pay this ransom? The answer given by many theologians was Satan. It seems evident from the discussion. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 224. (Grand Rapids. the devil had the right to keep people captive to himself. The Epistle to the Romans. that the redemptive work of God in history emphasizes not so much the paying of a price. 179. The church fathers in the Patristic period argued that because of sin. Leon Morris. therefore. 2004). the death of Christ. Biblical writers nowhere speculate on whom the ransom was paid to. (Minneapolis. 1997).from the shackles and bondages of sin that kept them chained without hope of escape. God. Moo calls this the points of contact between ³secular´ redemption and what God has done n Christ. If one really wants to argue the point about a ransom being paid to someone. The Biblical writers repeatedly used the concept of redemption to connote that God in Christ had to liberate people from slavery to sin and that He paid the price to accomplish this.19 Therefore according to Morris. .´20 This latter theory is the one that seems most likely to be given the situation and context of the scriptures. may never or could never regard the devil. It is God liberating 19 20 Norman Geisler. but the appeasement of the anger of a Holy God. a lesser being than himself (in every sense of the word) to be worthy of any form of payment. But the Bible no where teaches any ransom aid to the devil. Human beings sinned. Their silence here suggests that this was not part of the analogy they were using. Bethany House. then the most probable person to whom that ransom would have been paid must be God since sin makes us debtors to him. Systematic Theology. ³we must look at redemption as a way of looking at the cross which brings out certain details of Christ¶s work but which cannot be pressed in every detail. Leicester. God had to pay the devil a ransom. and the devil therefore had control of them. England: Inter-Varsity Press. Minnesota. It is the fact of God setting men free by the sacrificial blood of his Son that makes redemption the theological truth that it is. by the sacrifice of his Son and the manumission ± the setting free of men from the power and shackles of sin . Volume Three.

apart from whom.´ The benefit that redemption brings in this life. the liberation from guilt is also the deliverance from the sentence of death that is based on guilt. We have been liberated and as such can live lives that are pure and upright. The idea of God paying the price then through the sacrifice of his son could be viewed as a metaphorical analogy geared towards communicating the idea that God took the initiative to liberate men. Translated by Siegfried S.21 Jesus ³paid´ the ultimate sacrifice so that man can be set free ± liberated from the curse of sin and its effects. through the work on the cross has liberated mankind from the powers and shackles of sin. and because our destiny of death is associated with the condition of our body.humanity from such a phenomenon and the custody that was cancelled thereby came about because of man¶s guilt. and this is applicable in our passage. belonging to the Adolf Schlatter. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers Inc. Romans: The Righteousness of God. according to the divine justice. From the stand point of humanity. on account of which they were shackled to the results of sin. Because of this redemptive work the blessings of God that comes with being set free. because Paul links sin with death. Those who have been set free are no longer enslaved to sin or it¶s effects but can live a victorious life founded on the notion that Christ. According to Schlatter. is forgiveness of sins. He has spoiled principalities and powers and made a show of them openly and has led captivity captive. the act of God in freeing man should be seen in just that light ± God liberated or set men free from enslavement and the medium of such freedom was His Son. without yielding to the powers of the former slave master. Another aspect however. that we should no longer be slaves to sin ± because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Peabody. 1995). Paul says later in chapter 4 of Romans. Schatzmann. Such liberation necessarily would be gained through the blood of His Son. 97. 21 .¶ are made available to all who believe on the name of Christ. according to Ephesians 1:7. µfor whom the son sets free is free indeed. Paul could say concerning the body that it would also be freed by redemption. permanent forgiveness for sins could not be effected. ³For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with.

Romans. and true to his distaste for the idea of God¶s wrath. they are left null and void if one fails to consider that in order for them to have taken effect blood had to be shed ± there had to be a blood sacrifice. or where the subject is God. 128. acts that served to ³turn away´ the wrath of a god. More likely.e. The NIV Application Commentary. it refers specifically to the ³mercy seat. may refer to a ³place of satisfaction.´ while the King James calls him ³a propitiation. Dodd. used the word to mean ³expiate. C.´ i. though. A SACRIFICE OF ATONEMENT The NIV version states that ³God presented him [Christ] as a sacrifice of atonement.´ referring to the place where God¶s wrath toward sin is satisfied.future. There had to have been atonement. taking away sin).. the covering of the ark where the blood was sprinkled in the Old Testament ritual on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). which ³in form is an adjective that could be taken as either masculine or neuter´22 In secular Greek culture. are not single individual events that happen in this parenthesis called time. in his analysis of the word .H. Justification and redemption however. God being gracious.´23 A sacrifice was offered or monument dedicated. He 22 23 Frank E. The Expositor s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of The Holy Bible. this word and its cognates often refer to various means by which the wrath of the gods could be ³propitiated.´ In the minds of other theologians this word.´ This word refers to wiping away or forgiving sins (where the subject of that action is human). .´ There is much dissention among the ranks of the theologians about the Greek word (Jilasthrion) (translated in the NIV µsacrifice of atonement or as the one who would turn aside his wrath. Gaebelein. Jesus was this atonement. . having mercy and forgiving. Many interpreters think Paul uses the word in this sense and as such translate the word ³propitiation´ or ³appeasement. Moo. Ephesians 4:30. is the redemption of the body which will consummate our salvation according to Romans 8: 23. 43. Douglas J.

¶ in ET 62 (1950 51). As such he concludes that the usage of the noun shows that it means ³propitiation. 27 Shedd supports this assertion by saying that a comparison to the mercy seat ³upon the face of it seems incongruous´ Their conclusion: Few of those who hold to this view really face the fact that an unexplained 24 Douglas J. The NIV Application Commentary. Morris. Moreover the same word is used in the Septuagint of other things. and he only once a year). Moo. It seems clear therefore that the word is understood to signify ³means of propitiation´ or ³propitiatory thing. Ibid. unqualified use of the word to see here reference to that article of tabernacle furniture.´ and that those who advocate a meaning like ³propiatory sacrifice´ might be right. 129. 25 Cranfield. such as the ledge of the alter in Ezekiel 43:14. but is only related to it. Romans.´ However it must be born in mind that the verb in such expressions mean ³to make atonement´ not ³to offer sacrifice´ and further that the noun we have is not the atonement word.24 Thus Dodd was diametrically opposed to the idea of propitiation or appeasement. Dodd. The use of etc. 181.25 As such Dodd failed to pay adequate attention to the contexts of these words¶ occurrences. JTS 32 (1931): 353 60. in Biblical Greek. 227 33.´ its Cognates. Morris on the other hand has shown that in many if not all of the passages in which or its infinitive is used.´ This according to him is a description that could on occasion apply to the mercy seat. We should also bear in mind that the mercy seat was hidden from the public gaze (nobody ever saw it except the high priest.further states that no allusion to God¶s wrath is included. Quoting L. 26 27 Leon Morris.26 Morris therefore is against the ³mercy seat´ interpretation of the word. . pp. Quoting C. Derivatives and Synonyms in the Septuagint. H. but it could also refer to other things. In his view there is no example of the word unqualified referring to the mercy seat. the idea of God¶s wrath is present. 21. 182 . He states: We need more that the simple. whereas here the context stresses what is in the open. The Epistle to the Romans. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. Morris in another of his publications asserts that a number of translations see a reference to sacrifice and this may be justified by the use of the term µblood¶ in the passage and further by the fact that the verb cognate with the noun being discussed is commonly used in the Septuagint to say that such-and-such a sacrifice was offered ³to make atonement.

1999). and this view of is upheld by many writers. 98. The Meaning and Translation of Hilasterion in Romans 3:25. Romans: The Righteousness of God. in this passage the word is void of it. S. S. according to grace to the guilty¶ is not lost. P. Bailey.´ and as such became the name of the cover that was placed on top of the sacred ark. Schatzmann. P. L. Fryer. Fryer in his analysis of the word concludes that the term is a neuter accusative substantive best translated ³mercy seat´ or ³propitiatory covering. However in the New Testament. is used in reference to the mercy seat of Leviticus 16. D. however. the word is accompanied by the definite article. N. . diss.likening of Christ to a blood-sprinkled lid would be very curious. Translated by Siegfried S. Schlatter states that the author makes a link between keporet with kipper.30 From earlier times Paul has often been so understood.´29 D. L. the death of Christ 28 29 30 Ibid N. University of Cambridge. its active meaning µeffecting forgiveness.. Jesus As the Mercy Seat: The Semantics and Theology of Paul s Use of Hilasterion in Romans 3:25 (Ph. he would naturally omit the article so as to avoid identifying Christ with a material object. the possibility that Paul is using it in that sense here in Romans and thinking of Christ as the anti-type of the Old Testament mercy-seat must clearly be taken seriously. This is not an insuperable objection.28 however. Bailey in his own analysis on the passage in Romans 3: 25 argues that this is a direct reference to the mercy seat which covered the ark of the covenant. ³Means of propitiation´ is surely the meaning.´31 One objection that is held against the mercy seat interpretation of this word is that in the passage in Hebrews referred to above. (Hebrews 9:5). since that article was withheld from public view and access. upon which the cherubim were positioned and upon which the high priest sprinkled blood on the Day of Atonement and states that ³although was now rendered neuter. in twenty one out of the twenty-seven occurrences in the Septuagint and in its only other occurrence in the New Testament. 31 Adolf Schlatter. for if Paul is intent on stressing that Christ is the antitype of the Old Testament mercy seat. EvQ 59 (1987): 99-116. But more significant is the objection that any reference to the mercy seat is incongruous.D. ³to atone.

as the symbol of the God present in the sanctuary and among his people.opened up what had formerly been concealed and inaccessible to the people ± symbolic of the renting of the veil in the temple (Matt 27: 51. but once each year to become the locus of the sprinkling of blood with which the assurance of the forgiving grace was associated. The Expositor s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of The Holy Bible. In order for an act like this to be possible. While the locus of grace was hidden and inaccessible to Israel and more so to the nations. 41. In the Old Testament sacrificial system. Mark 15: 38). upon the offerings by the fire to the Lord. 32 . 5. T. Manson remarks. he through whom God has granted deliverance to all is proclaimed to all and the access to him opened up to all. Nygren supports the mercy seat interpretation by noting that the very terms used by Paul in the passage tally with the Old Testament setting in Exodus 25 ± the manifestation of God. the idea of Christ being the ³mercy seat´ as well as ³our propitiation´ does not have to be one that is in stark contrast to the other. The concept of propitiation is not limited to Paul¶s writings. W Manson (JTS 46) 1945. Christ has become the mediator or the go between in the struggle of God and man where the mercy of God is available because of the sacrifice of the son. If Paul here recalls the furnishings of the tabernacle and the tradition of Israel¶s festivals. Gaebelein. As far as Romans is concerned. He was removed from the sight of everyone else and positioned in the accessible darkness of the holy of holies. as well as the ability to remain in the divine grace. Quoting T. However. his wrath. and the priest shall make atonement Frank E. ³the mercy-seat is no longer kept in the sacred seclusion of the most holy place: it is brought out into the midst of the rough and tumble of the world and set up before the eyes of hostile. his glory. contemptuous. the offering was made before the Lord and there it took effect as well: ³The priest shall burn it on the alter. he clarifies his statement concerning the redemptive power of the death of Jesus in this way that the law already provided a process that mediated forgiveness to the community comprised of sinners. Perhaps there is room for both of these interpretations in the New Testament writings of Paul. the word ³presented´ is a sign post suggesting a similar concept here. the blood and the mercy seat. W. or indifferent crowds´32 Indeed. the cover was upon the ark in the holy of holies.

Introducing Christian Doctrine. when the blood was applied and God looked down from between the Cherubims. the object of great concern is the atonement cover. and so the ark essentially was the ³footstool. In verse 17 and 22. Michigan.for [the sinner] for the sin which he has committed. Erickson. It is the location upon which the Priest once every year would locate himself and make sacrifice for the entire nation of Israel for one entire year. NASB. The noun is (NDSSRUHW). As such Erickson asks the question can there be any doubt. 1999).was a symbol for the time then present. and he shall be forgiven´ (Lev. when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. NRSV) came from Tyndale in 1530 and was also used by Luther in 1523.. for that was the place of atonement. The value of this place was that Yahweh sat ³enthroned´ above it. Arnold Hustad. But just like the Passover recorded in Exodus 12. 4:35). he would see the commandments that were written on the two tablets of stone that were hid within the Ark of the Covenant. for it derives from a rare use of the verb. They served only for matters of food and drink 33 Millard J. ³. especially in view of God¶s anger against sin that this verse points to an appeasement of God? How else can we interpret the statement that the offering should be made to the Lord and forgiveness would follow?33 Exodus 25 gives a detailed description of God¶s direction for the building of the Ark of the Covenant. It would be the place where atonement was signified. atonement was made at the mercy seat of God and the sins of the people were forgiven for a while ± a period of one year. . Similar passages could be found in Leviticus 16. When God look down before the blood was applied. (Grand Rapids. if the same verb at all (the evidence shows ³cover´ is from another root with the same letters as this). Edited by L. The noun is formed from the word ³to make atonement. translated ³atonement lid´ or ³atonement plate. Baker Book House.´ The item that the Israelites should make would be more than just a lid for the ark. This would necessarily act as a yoke around the neck of the Israelites and would be the source of the wrath and the judgment of God on the people of Israel. ASV. 251. This atonement nevertheless being a temporary atonement.´ The traditional translation being ³mercy-seat´ (so KJV.´ Blood was applied to the lid of the box. The translation of ³covering´ is probably incorrect..

But separate and apart from this form of atonement. the high priest had to select two goats one to act as a sacrifice ± a sin offering to be butchered for the sins of the people of Israel and the other to be a µscape¶ goat ± to make atonement by sending it away into the wilderness . but on that which was µlet go in the wilderness. Thus these two sacrifices²one in the removal of what symbolically represented indwelling sin. and all their transgressions in all their sins.¶ and that it was this goat²not the other²which µbore upon him all the iniquities¶ of the people.the two goats together forming one sacrifice. Aaron. after he had by the blood of the bullock and of the other goat µmade an end of . this goat was the real and the only sin-offering µfor all the iniquities of the children of Israel. where the blood of rams and bulls were offered. that the sins of the people were confessed not on the goat which was killed. In the instruction presented there. this atonement was a two pronged fork in its application. one of them being killed. This tabernacle would then be transformed from a temple made with hands to the temple of the heart. The only condition which did not change was the condition of the heart of man and the necessity for atonement. when one bird was killed and the other dipped in its blood. they are external regulations imposed until the new order came´ (Hebrews 9: 9-10). the other µlet go. So far as the conscience was concerned.¶ there being no other analogous case of the kind except at the purification of a leper. and let go free. of whom one was killed.and various washings.¶ for upon it the high-priest laid the sins of the people. Leviticus 16 records this idea. had to be diametrically different from the atonement made in the Old Covenant. and the other µlet go.¶ It should be noted according to Edersheim. This atonement however. the other contracted guilt²agreed in requiring two animals. The picture of the Tabernacle given in the Old Testament was but a pre-figure of the true tabernacle that was to be inaugurated in the New Testament.

Not only was the atonement of Christ a propitiatory event but it was also a substitutionary phenomenon. Several considerations indicate that Christ did indeed take our place. The common idea in these several passages is that just like how the goat in Leviticus 16 ³bore´ the sins of the nation and took them away from the nation it self. not only to take upon Himself the burden of transgression. but it had done no more. Electronic Pdf. the Lamb of God. and made intercession for the transgressors´ (v. Paul said. On seeing Jesus.reconciling the Holy Place. laden with the confessed sins of the people. 12b). The Temple Its Ministry and Services. He ³bore´ our iniquity. ³For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin. carried them away into µthe wilderness¶ to µa land not inhabited. and put aside till Christ came. yet he bore the sin of many. as the symbolical substitute. so that in him we might become the righteousness of God´ (2 Cor. and the tabernacle of the congregation.¶ so. 34 Alfred Edersheim. and the altar¶ (Lev 16:20). which. into µa land not inhabited. yet as the goat was not killed. and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all´ (vs 6). only put away from the people. John the Baptist exclaimed. One prominent instance is in Isaiah 53: ³All we like sheep have gone astray we have turned every one to his own way.¶ The only meaning of which this seems really capable. ³He was made sin´ for us. The symbolical representation of this perfecting was by the live goat. for it µcould not make him that did the service perfect. who takes away the sin of the world!´ (John 1:29). He ³was numbered with the transgressors.34 The blood sprinkled had effected this. as pertaining to the conscience¶ (Heb 9:9). only sent far away. and it could do no more. is that though confessed guilt was removed from the people to the head of the goat. Christ completed that work and not only took away the sins of the world but totally annihilated it so that it was not covered but totally done away with. but to blot it out and to purge it away. First there is a whole set of passages which tell us that our sins were ³laid upon´ Christ. sin was not really blotted out. ³Behold. under the Old Covenant. Document . 5:21).

D. 1985. 201 ± 49. Steve Bond. Charles Draper.. Biblical Studies Press Brand.org. London. Software package. Carson. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Ray Clendenen. E. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bailey. L.The coming of the Christ. Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited 38 George Street. the son of God heralded the freedom of men from the oppressive shackles of sin and shame and has given birth to the unspeakable gift of grace by which we are saved through faith. (Nashville. 1955. Cranfield C. Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited 38 George Street. Trent C. Tennessee. 1996 ± 2005. Quoting B. P. An Introduction to the New Testament. ________. The Apostolic Preaching of The Cross. 2005. Zondervan. University of Cambridge. D. Warfield. Archie England. 1999. It is the faith that comes by trusting in the divine initiative of God that man is declared righteous in the court house of heaven and is redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. Bible.E. Grand Rapids. Net Bible First Edition. Morris.´ Ph. Butler and Bill Latta.B. 1985. Holman Reference. . diss. D.B. A and Douglas J. Moo. The New Testament Terminology of Redemption. 2004. ³Jesus As the Mercy Seat: The Semantics and Theology of Paul¶s Use of Hilasterion in Romans 3:25. Chad. This lamb through his atonement sacrifice has not only taken away the sins of the world but has also acted as the final arbiter between God and man. In PTR 15 (1917). Michigan. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans.

Arnold Hustad. 1985. in Biblical Greek. Edited by L. N. Minneapolis. Schatzmann. L. Introducing Christian Doctrine. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. Translated by Siegfried S. Alfred.´ JTS 32 (1931): 353 ± 60. Leicester. Electronic Pdf. 2004. Ruppert. 1997. Document Erickson. Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited 38 George Street. Peabody. Quoting Cambier. ³The Meaning and Translation of Hilasterion in Romans 3:25. Michigan. Michigan: William B. The Expositor¶s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of The Holy Bible.´ EvQ 59 (1987): 99116. S. Norman. Fryer. Available from http://wesley. The Temple ± Its Ministry and Services. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle To The Romans. Quoting T. 1999. The Epistle to the Romans. Schlatter Adolf. 1977.84f ________. Grand Rapids. England: Inter-Varsity Press. Zondervan Publishing House. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers Inc. 2000. Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. Romans. Sin and Salvation. Romans: The Righteousness of God. ________. H. Systematic Theology. GNT. Baker Book House. Internet. Bethany House. Volume Three.nnu.¶ In ET 62 (1950 ± 51). 2000. The Expositor¶s Bible Commentary with The New International Version of The Holy Bible. 1977. Geisler. Resource on-line.Charles John.edu/gnt/. Zondervan Publishing House. µThe use of etc. 5. Edersheim. Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids.´ its Cognates. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. Dodd. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Douglas J. Morris. Quoting C. Quoting L. The NIV Application Commentary. 1995. L¶Evangile de Dieu I pp. Online Greek New Testament. Gaebelein Frank E.________. ________. Minnesota. Millard J. Romans. Derivatives and Synonyms in the Septuagint. Michigan. Grand Rapids. Michigan. Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited 38 George Street. 1985. Leon. Morris. . ³ . Moo. W Manson (JTS 46) 1945.

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