“Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Romans 4:23-25
Why was it written in the Bible that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6)? Not just for Abraham but for us also, for those of us who believe the Gospel promises of God and trust in Him who raised up Jesus from the dead to forgive our sins and accept us as His own dear children through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.
What has Jesus accomplished for us by His innocent sufferings and death and by His glorious resurrection? That is shown to us by the words which the Holy Spirit moved St. Paul to write to the believers in Rome.
“Jesus our Lord … was delivered up because of our offenses.” Jesus was delivered up unto death on the cross on account of our sins — yours and mine. Jesus was holy and just. We are unjust sinners. We justly deserve God’s eternal wrath and punishment for our disobedience and sin, but Jesus was delivered up for our sins. He bore our punishment.
It is as St. Peter wrote in his first epistle: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit …” (1 Peter 3:18; cf. Isaiah 53:6).
Jesus “was raised because of our justification.” Jesus’ bodily resurrection on the third day proves that God the Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son as full payment for our sins and the sins of the whole world. “Jesus Christ the righteous … is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2).
If His sacrifice were not sufficient, Jesus would not have been raised from the dead and we would still be dead in our sins. But He has been raised — He lives — and we have forgiveness through faith in His name! (Cf. 1 Cor. 15:12-20.)
And Jesus died for our sins and rose again in triumph that we might look to Him in faith and be justified and made acceptable in God’s eyes. When we believe that “Jesus our Lord … was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification,” we receive God’s pardon and are justified by faith. We then possess peace with God — the peace won for us by the holy and precious blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. It is as the apostle writes in the very next verse: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ …” (Rom. 5:1).
Instead of being enemies of God, through faith in Christ, we are reconciled to God (Rom. 4:10-11). The sin which separated us from God has been taken out of the way, being nailed to Christ’s cross (Col. 2:13-14; cf. 2 Cor. 5:18-21).
And we need not doubt our salvation. It is as sure as Christ’s death for our sins and His glorious resurrection on the third day. Since Jesus bore our sins and died in our stead, and since God the Father raised Jesus up on the third day, we have peace with God through faith in Christ Jesus, our Savior!
We thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for bearing upon the cross the just punishment for our sins and for rising again in triumph that forgiveness and life eternal might be ours through faith in Your name. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]