Romans 3:21-31 - Propitiation


Intro: In Romans Ch. 1-3 Paul paints a very black picture of Human sin

A) Man is condemned at every turn & no one is left untouched by Paulís statements


B) In Ch. 1 he indictedthe Heathen the person who acts like God doesnít exist

1) Paul said he is guilty because creation around him testifies against

†††† him that God exist - therefore he is w/ out excuse



In First part of Ch. 2 we saw where Paul turned his attention to the Hypocrite - One who talks the talk but doesnít walk the walk /

A)One who judges others for that which he does himself/Paul says in v. 15††

††††† concerning the Hypocrite - that his conscience bears witness against him !


B) Then in the 2nd part of Ch. 2 beginning in v. 17 Paul focuses in on the Hebrew ( The religious person of that day )

1) Paul points out that the commandments testify against him / because the commandments only make you righteous if do them !


C) Then in Ch.3v. 9 Paul moves from the Hebrew to Humanity at Large For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

1) Condemned by His character - v.10-12 "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."


D) Also by their Conduct V.13-17 13"Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips";14"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;†† 16Destruction and misery are in their ways;17And the way of peace they have not known."


E) The cause ††††18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Paul like a top notch prosecuting attorney sumsuphis closing remarks there in v. 19,20 Where he declares that all the world is guilty before God

A) Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


B) Its is definitely a black picture that Paul Paints there in those 3 chapters /

††† picture storm clouds over head lightning flashing - Wrath! Awaits / Movie

1) But in v.21there is a rift in the sky where the sun breaks through !

†† as Paul begins to discuss the miracle of Justification!


21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

A) Intriguing statement - there is a righteousness of God in the Law ! The Law was perfect - we should see the law as a negative thing


B) The Law of God is Perfect - it just took a Perfect man to keep it / Jesus is the only man who did !

1) And for all the rest of us it did its Job it magnified & revealed our imperfections - Schoolmaster to drive us to grace !


C) So Paul explains there is a righteousness of God that is apart from the law

†††† and it has been witnessed by the Law & the Prophets

1) But This righteousness isnít the result of a program / that can be instituted, but it is the result of an encounter one has w/ a person . Jesus


D) There is a great danger we can face in dealing w/ our kids is to think that if we can only get them into right program - turn out godly

1) Or if we see a lack of godliness in the lives of our kids - we want to develop a program that will produce a godliness in them


E) So go so far as to institute rules that might make their kids appear godly on the outside - how dress etc. but not be reflective of their hearts

1) Guys that is not the answer


F) The answer to seeing godliness produced in the life of our kids & in our own lives for that matter is in having a Personal encounter w/ J.C.

So this righteousness is apart from the law / there is nothing you can physically do to earn it


And itis witnessed by the Prophets /†† It was laid out in scripture !

A) Prophets spoke of the coming of the Messiah - the one who would bring about the righteousness of God & who would be a living example of it !


B) Jesus fulfilled the Prophets :Matt.5:17,18"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

18"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.


C) Matt.13: I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, &did not hear it.



Next thing we are told in v. 22 - This plan of righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe for there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


A) This is the beauty of Godís plan is it is not a plan that man would have come up w/ !


B) God would leave heaven & become a man / pay the price - take the punishment

††† endure the wrath - amazing !


C) And then make the way of becoming a recipient of that salvation so simple / just believe !

1) Just put your trust in the work that Jesus did for you ! You will be saved !


D) There must be something I need to do !†††

1) Nope it is done - do you see the beauty in that !†† Incredible



Guys this is Godís miracle of Justification : Just as if you never sinned - Declared righteous by the Lord

A) Apart from the law ! /Revealed through prophets / by faith in Jesus alone


B) And v. 24 - Continuous action ! being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,


C) Speaks of our Position in Christ ! God sees you today as righteous / Zech. 3

1) Lean on Godísgrace / confess He forgives & forgets


D) Through the redemption - Lutroo purchase for the purpose of setting free /



redemption that is in Christ-

V25 ††whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,


A) This word Propitiation is one that I want to spend a little bit of time on .


B) Think w/ me for a minute O.T. times / tabernacle -Wall of skins - inside - altar

1) Tabernacle itself - 2 compartments

2) 1st Holy place - table of show bread / altar of incense / and golden lampstand


C) Veil - think as a mans hand - that separated that Holy Place from the holy of Holies

1) It was in the Holy of Holies that the Shikanah glory of God dwelt


D) Veil was like a Wall - no one could pass through - except one day - on the day of atonement -



There in the Holy of Holies stood the Ark of God !

A) Wooden box covered w/ gold that contained the law of God the 10 commandments - The Righteous requirement of God


B) That which pointed out mans failure / condemned man

C) But when the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies & stood before the ark they didnít see the 10 commandments in the box -because covered by a lid

1) The lid was called the mercy seat !


D) The priest would come into the Holy Of Holies & sprinkle the Blood from the sacrificed lamb upon the mercy seat - it stood as a covering for sin of the people

1) That word mercy seat is translated 25 times in the O.T. as Propitiation


E) So when Paul talks about Jesus being our Propitiation in essence what he is saying is He is our Mercy seat



This again is the beauty of Christianity is that Jesus is the whole package

A) He is the lamb sacrificed upon the altar -cross - it was His blood that was poured upon the mercy seat


B) Yet He is the mercy seat - He is the one that covers the law -


C) Now here is what is also interesting about the mercy seat is connected to it on top of it were the cherubim

1) The 2 angelic figures who faced each other wings outstretched & touching


D) Why the Angels ? Suggest to you they were representative of the Angels who blocked the entrance to the garden of Eden after the fall

1) Why were they there ? Policemen - act of Gods judgment ? Not really / they were there not to Police but to Protect


E) They kept man from eating of the tree of life - which would mean man would then be forced to live forever in a sinful state separated from God






So when you connect the Cherubim in Gen . 3 w/ the ones found on the Mercy seat - an incredible picture is presented

A) You have the Law - which is broken - covered by that which spoke of Gods mercy & Provision - over shadowed by 2 Angels protective


B) And that is where theblood of the Lamb was placed - right there between the 2 Cherubs - signifying that way to the tree of life has been opened !

1) Man could experience eternal life & fellowship w/ God because of that Blood that was placed upon the mercy seat



Justification also solves a divine dilemma -v.26 26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


A) God is Just - Means He must punish sin !He canít just wink at sin - ignore sin - have a boys will be boys attitude . Wouldnít be just

1) Supreme court Judge who let drug dealers/ murders / off hook / Impeach

†††† get out of there - not Just!


B) So being a just Judge He must justly deal w/ sin & rebellion !

1) But He also desires to see man saved & restored - Justified

†††† It was a Divine Dilemma !Answer ? Pay the price


C) Example - 17 yr old boy arrested - Dad judge ! just judge guilty

1) Then He paid the fine


D) Boy just needs to except it ! Would we Pity him if refused - no get what deserved


E) We are justified / record is clear !All we have to do is receive it !

1) He took care of the Punishment - He made way for salvation - He did it




In these final 4verses Paul presents 3 questions and the answers to the question

A) 1st Who can boast - answer is no one ! How can you boast about a gift you received undeservedly


A) Again this is the Beauty of Gods work - When a person really sees what Christ has done - Humility & Reverence is result /


B) Boasting is replaced by rejoicing -


C) See mans natural tendency is to point to himself - we want to talk about our sacrifice our diligence - our efforts/I found it ! - No I didnít

1) In Gods miracle of Justification there is no room for that !


D) Guy who gets saved at the beach - is He going to talk about how he raised his hand & called out for Help !Fool



2nd Is anyone excluded from this grace - Answer is no V.28-30 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,

30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.


A) The only person who is excluded from receiving this grace is the one who doesnít come to Christ through faith

1) Trusting in the work of Christ !



3rd V.31 Does this cancel out the Law ?Again the answer is No !

A) The gospel doesnít cancel out the Law - it fulfills the Law for the very righteousness which the Law demands


B) Is the righteousness given to us through Christ!


C) Also we are told in Gal. 3:24 that the very purpose of the Law is to bring us to

†††† Christ

1) Therefore - belief in Christ accomplishes the very reason the law was given to show us our need of a savior