Romans 4:25 – A Meditation

Once again my meditations have brought me to the book of Romans and for this study we will be looking at Romans 4:25:

“(Jesus) who was delivered over because of our transgressions and was raised because of our justification.”

In Romans up to this point, Paul has prosecuted all mankind, Jew and Gentile, and found them all to be condemned by their sin and in need of a Savior to rescue them (1:18-3:20). He has presented the gospel in its essential form (3:21-26) and illustrated justification by faith (Chapter 4 and the example of Abraham’s faith and his being credited with righteousness). Now at the conclusion of chapter 4 Paul introduces us to the Hero of our story, the Author of the gospel Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.

The Location of the verse:

This verse is located at the end of the section which tells how a man or woman can receive the benefits of the gospel (believe in Jesus unto righteousness) and forms the segue to the section that tells what God has accomplished in Christ for the salvation of His people and how He accomplished it and how this affects the life of the believer (Chapters 5-8).

The Structure of the verse:

It is obvious that the verse is made up of two parts that are almost identical in how they are worded. In its rendering of the verse, the NAS retains the structure in the Greek, which is certainly a rhetorical device employed by the apostle Paul. Each part of the verse contains an immense theological concept which is stated in the most efficient way possible.

So the structure of each part of the verse goes like this:

“Christ” + [aorist passive verb, past tense] + “because of” + “our” “transgressions” (the instruments of our condemnation) and “Christ” + [aorist passive verb, past tense] + “because of” + “our” “justification” (acquittal/deliverance from condemnation).

The reason I point out the structure of the verse is to appreciate the beauty of expression of the inspired Word. The masterful use of rhetoric, the balance of the sentence, the efficiency of expression and the profound nature of the ideas communicated all confirm the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Commentary/Meditation on the verse:

Since it is obvious that the verse has two parts which are rhetorically very similar, we will examine each part of the verse separately. First, the Apostle states that “(Christ) was delivered over because of our transgressions.” The Bible teaches that our transgressions necessitated a sacrifice that would satisfy the wrath of God kindled by our sins. Thus the first phrase speaks of our great need, that our sin had condemned us before our holy God. Our transgressions earned the wrath of God and merited our just condemnation and if we were to escape God’s wrath there had to be some sacrifice that could turn away God’s wrath from us. Therefore, “because of our transgressions,” . . . Because we were helpless (5:6) and condemned and because Christ was the only one whose death could propitiate the wrath of God; “because of our transgressions,” Christ was delivered over. He was delivered over to death so that He could give His life as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. Because Christ was the only one whose death would satisfy and because we were helpless and dead in our transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1), Christ had to be delivered over to death on our behalf. It is important to realize that Jesus Christ could not merely be punished and released (Luke 23:16, 22). Because God desired to save His elect from their deserved condemnation, and because the wages of our sin is death (6:23a; Ezekiel 18:4), Christ was delivered over to death. Thus our transgressions made it necessary for Christ to be delivered over to death. “who was delivered over because of our transgressions.”

As we have already stated, the second part of the verse is rhetorically similar to the first. “. . . and (He) was raised because of our justification.” What is Paul now saying in this second part of the verse? We have seen that Christ was delivered over because of our great need, but now He is raised because of His great accomplishment. Having accomplished our justification, Christ is now raised victorious. Thus Christ’s resurrection followed after our justification. What Paul is saying is that when Christ died on the cross, His work of atonement and propitiation was done. He had been “delivered over” and had died and thus Christ had atoned for the sins of His people and He had propitiated the wrath of God against them. His work had been perfectly completed and the goal had been reached. “It is finished!” He had cried from the cross (John 19:30). By His death on the cross, His people had been justified. Now with our justification accomplished by His death, it was no longer necessary for Him to remain in the grave. Therefore, since our justification was accomplished, He could be raised in glorious resurrection. Because Christ’s work of justification had been finished, He could be raised from the dead.

So “[He] was delivered over because of our transgressions and was raised because of our justification.” Christ was delivered over to death to atone for our transgressions and He was raised because He had perfectly accomplished His work of justification.

SDG    rmb    7/16/2016

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