We now come to the greatest single verse in the entire Bible on the manner of justification by faith: We entreat you, study this verse. We have seen many a soul, upon understanding it, come into peace.
Verse 24: Being declared righteous giftwise by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus — God having brought the whole world into His courtroom and pronounced them guilty (vs. 19), — “under sin,” now exhibits Himself in absolute sovereign grace towards the guilty!
Being declared [or accounted] righteous — Justification, or accounting righteous, is God’s reckoning to one who believes the whole work and effect before Him of the perfect redemption of Christ. The word never means to make one righteous, or holy; but to account one righteous. Justification is not a change wrought by God in us, but a change of our relation to God.
Declared righteous giftwise — The Greek word dorean means, for nothing, gratuitously, giftwise, as a free gift. Paul, for example, uses the same word in reminding the Corinthians of his labors to make the gospel “without charge.” “Freely [dorean] ye received, freely give,” said the Lord to the twelve (Matt. 10:8). “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (dorean),—for nothing (Rev. 21:6); and it occurs in almost the very last verse of the Bible: “Let him take of the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Perhaps the most striking use of this word, dorean, is by our Lord: “They hated me without-a-cause” (dorean) (John 15:25). The cause of the hatred was in them, not in Christ. Turning this about: the cause of our justification is in God, not in us. We are justified dorean — freely, gratis, gratuitously, giftwise, without a cause in us! This great fact should deliver just now some reader who has been looking within, to his spiritual state, or feelings, or prayers, as a ground of peace.
By His grace — We get our word “charity”— from the Greek word translated “grace” here (charis). True, our word “charity” has been narrowed down in our poor thought and speech to handing out a dole to the needy. But as used by God, this word grace (charis), means the going forth in boundless oceans, according to Himself, of His mighty love. who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” The grace of God is infinite love operating by an infinite means, — the sacrifice of Christ; and in infinite freedom, unhindered, now, by the temporary restrictions of the Law.
Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus — Remember that everything connected with God’s salvation is glad in bestowment, infinite in extent, and unchangeable in character. Christ’s atoning work was the procuring cause of all eternal benefit to us. Concerning the Greek word translated “redemption” here (apolutrōsis) Thayer says: “Everywhere in the New Testament this word is used to denote deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath of a holy God and the merited penalty of sin.”
The effect of redemption is shown in Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” Otherwise we were unpardoned and exposed to Divine wrath for ever. Compare Colossians 1:14: “In whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins”; as also Hebrews 9:15: “A death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant.” Here Thayer’s interpretation of this word “redemption” is again excellent: “Deliverance from the penalty of transgressions effective through their expiation.”
Before you leave verse 24, apply it to yourself, if you are a believer. Say of yourself: “God has declared me righteous without any cause in me, by His grace, through the redemption from sin’s penalty that is in Christ Jesus.” It is the bold believing use for ourselves of the Scripture we learn, that God desires; and not merely the knowledge of Scripture.
Newell, William R. “Chapter Three.” Romans Verse-by-Verse, Moody Press, 1938, pp. 114 – 116.
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