Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Slaves Serving God
Life by Faith
Service by Faith
Modified from Irving
L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
BEING JUSTIFIED: dikaioumenoi
4:16; 5:16, 17, 18, 19; 1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:7, 8, 9, 10; Titus 3:5, 6, 7)
in Holman Bible Dictionary)
As Morris says, now Paul
From tragedy to triumph. (Morris,
L. The Epistle to the Romans. W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
William Newell writes...
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. (Romans: Verse by
Guzik observes that...
Paul develops his teaching about
salvation around three themes.
Justification: an image from
the court of law
Redemption: an image from the slave market)
Propitiation: an image from the world of religion, appeasing God
Justification solves the problem of
man's guilt before a righteous Judge. Redemption solves the problem of
man's slavery to sin, the world, and the devil. Propitiation solves the
problem of offending God our Creator.
Even as all have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God is universal, so is the offer of being
justified freely by His grace. It is open to everyone who will believe.
Morris, quoting Moule: "The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of
it; but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you
on the crest of an Alp; but you are as little able to touch the stars as
they." Everyone falls short, but everyone can be justified freely by His
from dike = right,
expected behavior or conformity, not according to one’s own standard,
but according to an imposed standard with prescribed punishment for
more discussion of
primarily means to deem to be right.
the act by which a man is brought into a right state of relationship to God. Dikaioo is a legal term having to do with the law
and the the courtroom, where it represented the legally binding verdict of the
judge. This is the sense in which Paul uses dikaioo
in this section in Romans (Ro 3:21-5:11) in which he unfolds the doctrine
Dikaioo is found 39 times
in the NAS, most often in Romans (Mt 11:19; 12:37; Lk. 7:29, 35;
10:29; 16:15; 18:14; Acts 13:38, 39; Ro 2:13; 3:4, 20, 24, 26, 28, 30;
4:2, 5; 5:1, 9; 6:7; 8:30, 33; 1Co 4:4; 6:11; Gal 2:16, 17; 3:8, 11, 24;
5:4; 1Ti 3:16; Titus 3:7; Jas. 2:21, 24, 25)
and is translated: acknowledged...justice, 1; acquitted, 1; freed, 3;
justified, 24; justifier, 1; justifies, 2; justify, 4; vindicated, 3;
Dikaioo is found 28 times in the
(Ge 38:26; 44:16; Ex
23:7; Deut 25:1; 2Sa 15:4; 1Ki 8:32; 2Chr 6:23; Esther 10:3; Job 33:32;
Ps 19:9; 51:4; 73:13; 82:3; 143:2; Isa 1:17; 5:23; 42:21; 43:9, 26;
45:25; 50:8; 53:11; Jer 3:11; Ezek 16:51f; 21:13; 44:24; Mic 6:11; 7:9)
The meaning of
dikaioo depends on the context and depending on which lexicon you
consult you will come up with a variety of definitions so the following
is an attempt as classifying most of the NT uses, but please be a Berean
and do you own study of this word.
(1) To cause someone to be in a
proper or right relation with someone else. This use corresponds to
the vitally important truth imputed righteousness and thus means to
justify or to declare righteous, which is only accomplished by faith and
not by works as explained in definition #2.
justified (declared righteous and in proper or right relation to
God) as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ
Titus 3:7 (note)
that being justified (declared righteous and in proper or right
relation to God) by His grace we might be made heirs according to the
hope of eternal life.
(2) To show to be right or righteous.
Matthew 11:19 "The Son of Man
came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a
drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!' Yet wisdom is
vindicated (dikaioo - shown to be right, proved to be in the right
and accepted by God) by her deeds."
Luke 7:35 "Yet wisdom is
vindicated (dikaioo - shown to be right) by all her children."
James uses dikaioo in this sense - to show to be righteous. And
so we see that Abraham's works show that he was righteous. He had been
declared righteous by faith in Genesis 15:6, but was shown to be
righteous in Genesis 22, which is the point that James is making in the
James 2:21 (note) Was not Abraham our
father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on
the altar? (Note: Do not misunderstand. James is not using
dikaioo in this context to say a Abraham was declared
righteous but that he was shown to be
righteous by his work - his willingness to offer Isaac. This "work" was
the visible manifestation to men of the fact that at some point in time
in the past -- Genesis 15:6 -- Abraham had been justified by faith and
declared righteous by God on the basis of his faith, not on the basis of
his works. This verse illustrates why it one has to be very careful to
observe the context when defining any Greek word. Many people read these
three passages in James and are confused because they read them in light
of definition #1 above which does not apply to this context. The New
Living Translation does an excellent job of accurately paraphrasing this
passage to give it the intended meaning...
James 2:21 Don't you remember
that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his
actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? (NLT)
James 2:24 (note) You see that a man
is justified (shown to be righteous) by works, and not by faith
James 2:25 (note) And in the same way
was not Rahab the harlot also justified (shown to be righteous)
by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another
In some cases dikaioo refers to Jesus or God Who are
demonstrated to be morally right (Divine vindication)...
Romans 3:4 (note)
May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be
found a liar, as it is written, "That Thou mightest be justified
(shown to be just) in Thy words, And mightest prevail when Thou art
judged." (quoting Ps 51:4)
1Timothy 3:6 (This description refers to Jesus) And by common
confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the
flesh, Was vindicated (dikaioo - shown to be right) in the
Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in
the world, Taken up in glory.
(3) To make free, liberate, set free or release from
the control of . This meaning is similar to another Greek verb
BDAG explains that the idea is "to cause someone to be released from
personal or institutional claims that are no longer to be considered
pertinent or valid"
For he who has died is freed (dikaioo in the
= has been released)
from sin (the power of
which we were enslaved)
Acts 13:39 and through Him
everyone who believes is freed (dikaioo -
= has been set free)
from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of
(4) Acknowledging that someone is
just or right.
Luke 7:29 And when all the
people and the tax-gatherers heard this, they acknowledged God's
justice, (they acknowledged that God's way was right) having been
baptized with the baptism of John.
(5) Man declaring that he is just
or right. This is something man does and based on his standard of
righteousness (self righteousness) not God's standard.
Luke 10:29 But wishing to
justify (declare himself righteous) himself, he said to Jesus, "And
who is my neighbor?" (Comment: Notice that this young lawyer is
trying to limit the demand of the law by asking "Who is my neighbor?"
and by limiting it he would then show that he had fulfilled it. In other
words this man would judge himself by his own standard of righteousness
-- not God's perfect standard -- but he would not be justified in
the sense of definition #1)
To understand dikaioo, one needs to
understand the root work dike which originally meant
manner, tendency and with time came to refer to the designation for the
right of established custom or usage. Stated another way, the basic
meaning of dike involves the assertion by human society of
a certain standard expected by its people which, if not kept, can bring
forth ensuing judgment. Thus it can be said that díke is
expected behavior or conformity, not according to one's own standard,
but according to an imposed standard (here in Romans it is God's
standard of righteousness) with prescribed punishment for nonconformity.
Dikaioo ends in "-oo" which in Greek brings out
that which a person is. Therefore dikaioo brings out the
fact that a person is righteous. It means to declare the rightness of
something or someone.
adds a note on dikaioo writing that...
The word is a forensic or legal term
with the meaning “acquit”. It is the normal word to use when the
accused is declared “Not guilty”. We see its significance in an Old
“When men have a dispute, they are to
take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting (or,
justifying) the innocent and condemning the guilty” (Deut. 25:1).
Here the legal meaning is plain, and
this remains with the word throughout the range of its biblical use.
Some argue that it means “to make righteous”, but this cannot be
demonstrated. The impossibility of making righteous is clear when the
word is used of God (Ro 3:4-note).
It is plain also in the use of the future tense “will be justified”
(Ro 2:13-note), for the reference is to Judgment Day and no one will be “made
righteous” on that day. Moreover, that passage refers to “the doers of
law” as “justified”, but by definition “doers of law” are righteous:
they cannot be “made” righteous. The declaratory meaning is clear.
It is to be inferred also from the fact that it stands in opposition to
condemnation. “To condemn” does not mean “to make wicked”, but “to
declare guilty”; similarly, “to justify” means “to declare just” (Morris,
L. The Epistle to the Romans. W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press)
Vine says that dikaioo means
"to show, or declare, to be right.” In the N.T. it mostly signifies
“to declare a person to be righteous before God." (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
In simple terms dikaioo as used here in Romans means...
declare a person to be righteous or right
Only God can declare
a man righteous and yet men continually seek ways to make
themselves righteous. For example, in the gospels we encounter a certain
lawyer (a scribe who was supposedly an expert in the law of God)
approach Jesus to put Him to the test asking
"Teacher, what shall I
do to inherit eternal life?" (Lk 10:25).
Jesus responded to the
question with another question for this one who knew the Law asking
is written in the Law? How does it read to you?"
The lawyer answered
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and
with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind;
and your neighbor as yourself." (Lk 10:26-27)
This was indeed an
excellent answer, the lawyer summing up the requirements of the law (Lev
19:18, Dt 6:5) exactly as Jesus Himself had done on another
occasion (see Mt 22:37, 28, 29, 40)
And so Jesus responded
"You have answered correctly;
do this, and you will live." But wishing to justify
(dikaioo) himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my
neighbor?” (Lk 10:28, 29)
Expositor's Bible Commentary
explains dikaioo as follows...
In classical Greek the verb
dikaioo was sometimes used to mean "do right by a person, give him
justice." As a result, it could be used in the sense of "condemn." But
in its biblical setting it is used in the opposite sense, namely, "to
acquit" (Ex 23:7; Dt 25:1). It is clear both from the OT and the NT that
dikaioo is a forensic term; it is the language of the law court. But to
settle on "acquittal" as the meaning of justification is to express only
a part of the range of the word, even though an important part (Acts
13:39). There is a positive side that is even more prominent in NT
usage--"to consider, or declare to be, righteous." The word does not
mean "to make righteous," that is, to effect a change of character.
Because he considered it ethically deplorable that God should account
righteous those who have been and to some extent continue to be sinful,
Goodspeed defied the linguistic evidence and rendered dikaioo "to make
upright." He failed to realize that the question of character and
conduct belongs to a different area, namely, sanctification, and is
taken up by Paul in due course, whereas justification relates to status
and not to condition.
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
"Do and live" was indeed the
promise of the law (see Lev 18:5, Ezek 20:11). But since no sinner can
obey perfectly, the impossible demands of the law were always
meant to drive us to seek God's mercy (Gal 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 24,
25) and His
righteousness. The lawyer should have responded with a confession of his
guilt, rather attempting to justify himself with his
question "Who is my neighbor?"
The prevailing opinion among
scribes and Pharisees in Jesus' day was that one’s neighbors were
the "righteous" (at least those they considered "righteous"). According
to them, the wicked, like tax collectors and especially Samaritans—were
to be hated because they were the enemies of God. They cited (Ps 139:21,
22) to justify their position. Jesus teaching on the
familiar passage of the good Samaritan demolished any hope this lawyer
had to make himself righteous (dikaioo).
Being justified is an act of God (Ro 8:33-note) Who takes the initiative (cp
Ep 1:4-note, 1Pe 1:2-note, 2Th 2:13) and provides the means through the redemption which
is in Christ Jesus. The sinner who believes in Christ receives God's
gift of righteousness (Ro 1:17-note,
Ro 5:17-note), which then enables God to pronounce
him righteous (both Just & Justifier - Ro 3:26-note). This verse is perhaps the
most thorough soteriological (dealing with teaching on salvation) passage in the New Testament.
John MacArthur writes that
Being justified refers back to the “alls” of the previous two
verses-all those who have believed, of whom all were sinful. Just as
there is no distinction among those who need salvation, there is no
distinction among those who receive it, because they all are justified
as a gift by His grace.
Dikaioo means to declare the rightness of something or
someone. Justification is God’s declaration that all the demands
of the law are fulfilled on behalf of the believing sinner through the
righteousness of Jesus Christ. Justification is a wholly
forensic, or legal, transaction. It changes the judicial standing of the
sinner before God. In justification, God imputes (Ed: reckons,
places on one's "account") the perfect righteousness of Christ to the
believer’s account, then declares the redeemed one fully righteous.
Justification must be distinguished from sanctification, in
which God actually imparts Christ’s righteousness to the sinner. While
the two must be distinguished, justification and
sanctification can never be separated. God does not justify whom He
does not sanctify. (MacArthur,
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)
In salvation dikaioo describes the legal act whereby God declares
the believing sinner righteous on the basis of the blood of Christ.
Justification is not doled out piecemeal over a period of time through
mediatorial agents and ritual observances. Stated another way,
justification is not a process but is an act that occurs once and need
not be repeated. It is something God does,
not man. Justification is not subject to recall
so that you have to get it over and over again (as in Radical Arminian
churches). Justification is not a change wrought by God in us, but a
change of our relation to God. Justification describes a person’s status
in the sight of the law, not the condition of his or her character. The
condition of one’s character and conduct is that with which
Do not confuse justification
and sanctification. Sanctification is the process whereby God
makes the believer more and more like Christ. Sanctification may change
from day to day. Justification never changes. When the sinner trusts
Christ, God declares him righteous, and that declaration will never be
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Being justified is once and for all time and as such
defines the believers permanent state. Just as you
may not be tried for the same crime again after being acquitted, God's
justification means you will never be tried or condemned by Him again
for your sins--past, present, or future. This is good news indeed.
To reiterate, justification is not an act of God that
makes us righteous but is an act
of God that declares us righteous based on what Christ
accomplished on Calvary.
Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness
by Nikolaus von
Jesus, Thy blood
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
The holy, meek, unspotted Lamb,
Who from the Father’s bosom came,
Who died for me, e’en me to atone,
Now for my Lord and God I own.
Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which, at the mercy seat of God,
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me, e’en for my soul, was shed.
Lord, I believe were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.
When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
Ev’n then this shall be all my plea,
Jesus hath lived, hath died, for me.
This spotless robe the same appears,
When ruined nature sinks in years;
No age can change its glorious hue,
The robe of Christ is ever new.
Jesus, the endless praise to Thee,
Whose boundless mercy hath for me—
For me a full atonement made,
An everlasting ransom paid.
O let the dead now hear Thy voice;
Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice;
Their beauty this, their glorious dress,
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness.
emphasizes this distinction writing that...
To justify does not mean to actually
make a person righteous. We cannot make God righteous; He already
is righteous. But we can declare Him to be righteous. God does not
make the believer sinless or righteous in himself. Rather, God puts
righteousness to his account. As A. T. Pierson put it,
God in justifying sinners actually
calls them righteous when they are not—does not impute sin where sin
actually exists, and does impute righteousness where it does not exist.
W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
At God’s Lighthouse Mission in Manhattan the men who attended services
in the ’50s were drilled nightly in Bible verses and in a particular
definition of “justified.” Justified, they were taught to repeat, means
“just as if I had never sinned in the sight of God.”
taught this same phrase in Men's Bible Study Fellowship - "Justified" ~
"Just As If I Had Never Sinned". This teaching is not entirely accurate
for as discussed above dikaioo, means to be acquitted or to be pronounced righteous.
It is not “just as if I had never sinned” and does not go
far enough. More accurately it is
"just as if I had lived as perfect
a life as Jesus did!"
Once, when my normal green-tinted sunglasses were lost, I put on a
rose-colored pair. And everything I saw through them was rose colored. Justification is a little like this. God sees you and me through
Christ-colored glasses. When God looks at the person who believes in His
Son He sees the righteousness of Jesus Himself.
As someone has well said justification goes beyond acquittal to approval
and beyond pardon to
promotion. Acquittal means only that a person is set free from a
charge. Justification means that positive righteousness is imputed. It
is important to realize that justification is a reckoning that takes
place in the mind of God. It is not something a believer feels. The
believer can be certain
it has taken place because the Bible says so. C I Scofield expressed
it this way
Justification is that act of God whereby He declares righteous all who
believe in Jesus. It is something which takes place in the mind of God,
not in the nervous system or emotional nature of the believer.
Dikaioo in other
contexts can mean vindicated, proved, pronounced as, declared or shown
to be. For example, Paul in recording part of an early church hymn
describes Jesus as
He Who was revealed in the flesh, was
vindicated (dikaioo) in the Spirit. (NAS,1Ti 3:16 - note KJV reads "justified
in the Spirit" which is somewhat confusing.)
Comment: Vindicated in this context is easier to
understand if translated as "declared (or shown)
to be righteous" (with respect to His spiritual nature). The NLT
paraphrased version renders it "shown to be righteous by the Spirit"
Dikaioo is used in this way in Romans 3 where Paul writes
God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,
“That Thou mightest be justified (dikaioo - shown to
be right, proved to be right) in Thy words" (see note
C H Spurgeon
justification? A. Justification is an act of God's free grace,
wherein he pardons all our sins (Ro 3:24-note;
and accepts us as righteous in His sight (2Cor 5:21) only for the
righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Ro 5:19-note),
and received by faith alone (Gal 2:16; Php 3:9-note).
discussion is not intended to be an exhaustive treatment of the verb
dikaioo or of the profound doctrine of justification. For a more exhaustive
treatment I would highly recommended Dr Wayne Grudem's work,
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical
Doctrine (IVP; Zondervan, 1994)
click here for Grudem's work in computer format).
The following quote is taken from his book and emphasizes the crucial
importance of an accurate understanding of dikaioo and the
doctrine of justification. Grudem writes that...
A right understanding of
justification is absolutely crucial to the whole Christian faith.
Once Martin Luther realized the truth of justification by faith alone,
he became a Christian and overflowed with the new-found joy of the
gospel. The primary issue in the Protestant Reformation was a dispute
with the Roman Catholic Church over justification. If we are to
safeguard the truth of the gospel for future generations, we must
understand the truth of justification. Even today, a true view of
justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of
salvation by faith alone and all false gospels of salvation based on
good works. (Systematic
Theology) (Bolding added)
justify, justification, righteous, righteousness, just, right,
meet, are all translations of the same Greek root. The verb justify is
dikaióō, the noun righteousness, dikaiosune, the
dikaios. This means that all these words have
a general meaning that is common to all of them, even though their
individual meaning may differ slightly. This again means that there is a definite and vital connection between the act of
justifying and the righteousness of the individual who has been
We will look first at the usage of these words in pagan
“In pagan Greece the dikaios person is he who
does not selfishly nor yet self-for-gettingly transgress the
bounds fixed for him, and gives to everyone his own, yet still
desires what is his, and does not in the least withdraw the
assertion of his own claims.”
Paul uses dikaios in its purely
classical sense in Ro 5:7 (note). In the biblical sense, dikaios is “what
is right, conformable to right, answering to the claims of usage,
custom, or right.… The fundamental idea is that of a state or
condition conformable to order, apart from the consideration
whether usage or custom or other factors determine the order or
direction. Thus, dikaios is synonymous with
that dikaios is a conception of a relation and presupposes a norm,
whereas the subject of agathos is its own norm.”
understanding the words justify and righteous, as they are used in
the New Testament, it should always be kept in mind that their
meaning is not a subjective one but an objective one. That is, the
content of meaning in these words is not to be determined by each
individual Bible expositor. If that were the case, what is
righteous one day, may not be righteous the next. The content of
meaning in that case would be dependent upon the fluctuating
standards and ethics of men. With the present trend towards the
teaching of the relativity of all truth, this method of
interpretation becomes a most vicious thing. What is right one day
may be wrong the next.
God is the
objective standard which determines the content of meaning of
dikaios, and at the same time keeps that content of meaning
constant and unchanging, since He is the unchanging One.
Righteousness in the biblical sense is a condition of rightness
the standard of which is God, which is estimated according to the
divine standard, which shows itself in behavior conformable to
God, and has to do above all things with its relation to God, and
with the walk before Him. It is, and it is called dikaiosune theou
(righteousness of God) (Ro 3:21-note,
Ro1:17-note), righteousness as it belongs
to God, and is of value before Him, Godlike righteousness, see Eph
4:24 (note); with this righteousness thus defined, the gospel (Ro
comes into the world of nations which had been wont to measure by
a different standard. Righteousness in the Scripture sense is a
thoroughly religious conception, designating the normal relation
of men and their acts, etc., to God. Righteousness in the profane
mind is a preponderatingly social virtue, only with a certain
Justification in the Bible sense therefore is the act of
God removing from the believing sinner, his guilt and the penalty
incurred by that guilt, and bestowing a positive righteousness,
Christ Jesus Himself in Whom the believer stands, not only
innocent and uncondemned, but actually righteous in point of law
for time and for eternity. The words justify, justification,
righteous, righteousness, as used of man in his relation to God,
have a legal, judicial basis. God is the Judge, man the defendant.
God is the standard of all righteousness. The white linen curtains
of the court of the Tabernacle, symbolized the righteousness which
God is, the righteousness which God demands of any human being who
desires to fellowship with Him, and the righteousness which God
provides on the basis of the acceptance on the sinner’s part, of
the Lord Jesus who perfectly satisfied the just demands of God’s
holy law which we broke. A just person therefore is one who has
been thus declared righteous (Ro 1:17-note). The word is used in its
non-legal sense in Phil 1:7 (note) and
Lk 12:57 for instance, where it
speaks of conduct that is conformable to what is right.
S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
(This resource is highly recommended if you enjoy Greek word
Gingrich clarifies the
meaning of justification emphasizing that it is...
not an executive act of mercy
(pardoning) nor an efficient act of power (sanctifying or making
righteous), but is a judicial act of grace (declaring righteous). To
pardon means to mercifully remit punishment without removing the
grounds for condemnation. To sanctify means to make holy and
good, to change moral character. To justify means to declare
righteous (or just), to impute righteousness to, to proclaim that one is
in right relationship to God’s holy law, to announce that the demands of
justice have been satisfied, to declare that there are no grounds for
condemnation and that punishment cannot be justly imposed. The opposite
of to pardon is to punish; the opposite of to sanctify is
to make unholy; the opposite of to justify is to condemn.
Proverbs 17:15, Isaiah 5:23; Romans 2:13 (note);
Ro 3:4 (note)
prove that justifying is not pardoning or sanctifying, but is the
judicial proclamation of freedom from condemnation, based, not upon
something done by the sinner, nor upon something done by God in the
sinner but upon something done by Christ for, and then imputed to, the
sinner. (Gingrich, R. E. The Book of Romans)
AS A GIFT: dorean:
Awake My Soul To Joyful Lays**
by Samuel Medley,
Awake, my soul, in joyful lays,
And sing my great Redeemer’s praise;
He justly claims a song from me,
His loving kindness, oh, how free.
His lovingkindness, O how free!
He saw me ruined in the fall,
And loved me, notwithstanding all.
He saved me from my lost estate,
His lovingkindness, O how great!
Though numerous hosts of mighty
Though earth and hell my way oppose,
He safely leads my soul along -
His lovingkindness, O how strong!
His lovingkindness, O how strong!
When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gathered thick and thundered loud,
He near my soul has always stood -
His lovingkindness, O how good!
His lovingkindness, O how good!
Often I feel my sinful heart
Prone from my Jesus to depart;
But though I have him oft forgot,
His lovingkindness changes not.
His lovingkindness changes not.
Soon I shall pass the gloomy vale,
Soon all my mortal powers must fail;
O! may my last expiring breath
His lovingkindness sing in death.
His lovingkindness sing in death.
Then let me mount and soar away
To the bright world of endless day;
And sing with raptures and surprise,
His lovingkindness in the skies.
His lovingkindness in the skies.
** Lays = Songs
It is not a matter of wages or merit
but is a free gift that originates in the grace of God.
It means being justified without any
prior conditions being met. We do not merit justification, but we enjoy
it because of Christ's precious blood given as our ransom price.
(dorean from dorea = a gift, something bestowed freely,
without price, or compensation, as in Jn 4:10; Ac 2:38; 2Co 9:15,,
God is always Giver of dorea)
conveys the basic meaning of "for nothing". It pertains to being freely
given, given without charge or without payment. As a free gift or gratis.
Dorean emphasizes the free
character of the gift, given spontaneously and without reference to
Here in Romans 3:24 the prominent
thought is the grace of the Giver.
In some contexts dorean conveys
the idea of needlessly as in Gal 2:21
"I do not nullify the grace of
God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died
needlessly (or "for nothing", "not without impact").
In other contexts dorean means without a
cause or reason (similar use in Lxx of
or undeservedly, as when Jesus explained...
"But they have done this (they
have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well) in order that the
word may be fulfilled that is written in their Law, 'THEY HATED ME
WITHOUT A CAUSE.' (John 15:25)
says that a gift is something voluntarily transferred by
one person to another without compensation.
found 8 times in the NAS
Matthew 10:8 "Heal the sick, raise
the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you
received, freely give.
John 15:25 "But they have done this in order that the word may be
fulfilled that is written in their Law, 'They hated Me without a
cause.' (cp use of dorea in Lxx of Ps 35:19, 69:4, 109:3, 119:161,
Job 1:9 "for no reason")
Romans 3:24 (note)
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption
which is in Christ Jesus;
2 Corinthians 11:7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you
might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without
Galatians 2:21 "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness
comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly (in vain, done
without due result, without or for no purpose, cp use in Lxx of 1Ki 2:31
Comment: Don't miss what Paul
is stating in this verse - His point is that if righeousness can be
obtained by sinful men by keeping the law, then Christ's death on the
Cross was of no purpose and did not need to occur.
2Th 3:8 nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but
with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might
not be a burden to any of you;
Rev 21:6 (note)
And He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the
spring of the water of life without cost.
Rev 22:17 (note)
And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say,
"Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take
the water of life without cost.
Guzik writes that...
Freely is the Greek word dorean.
The way this word is used in other New Testament passages helps us
understand the word. Matthew 10:8 (Freely you have received, freely
give) and Revelation 22:17 (And whoever desires, let him take the water
of life freely) show that the word means truly free, not just "cheap" or
"discounted." Perhaps the most striking use of the ancient Greek word
dorean is in John 15:25: They hated me without a cause (dorean).
Even as there was nothing in
Jesus deserving of man's hatred, so there is nothing in us deserving of
justification - all the reasons are in God.
Calvin on the use of both the words
freely and grace:
He thus repeats the word to show
that the whole is from God, and nothing from us . . . lest we should
imagine a half kind of grace, he affirms more strongly what he means by
a repetition, and claims for God's mercy alone the whole glory of our
found 26 times in the non-apocryphal
(Ge 29:15; Ex 21:2, 11; Nu 11:5; 1Sa 19:5; 25:31; 2Sa 24:24; 1Ki 2:31;
1Chr 21:24; Job 1:9; Ps 35:7, 19; 69:4; 109:3; 119:161; 120:6; Isa 52:3,
5; Jer 22:13; Lam 3:52; Mal 1:10)
Exodus 21:2 "If you buy a Hebrew
slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out
as a free man without payment (Heb = chinnam = freely,
undeservedly, without cause, for no purpose, in vain; Lxx = dorea).
2 Samuel 24:24 (1Chr 21:24) However,
the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a
price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which
cost me nothing (Heb = chinnam = freely, undeservedly, without
cause, for no purpose, in vain; Lxx = dorea)." So David bought the
threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
means that God declares a believer righteous without any
cause or legitimate reason. In other words, there is nothing in mankind merits the declaration of
righteousness by God. Justification is a gracious gift which God extends to
the repentant, believing sinner, wholly apart from human merit or work.
That gift cost God the suffering and death of His own Son on the cross,
so that, for the believer, there is nothing left to pay. How fitting
that the Bible ends with God's invitation
And the Spirit and the
bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the
one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life
without cost (literally "as a gift" = dorean).
emphasizes this point writing that...
Freely is the Greek word dorean,
translated in John 15:25 “without a cause.” Our Lord Jesus said that
they hated Him freely, without a cause—there was no basis for it. Now
Paul is saying, Being justified freely—without a cause. There is no
explanation in us. God doesn’t say, “Oh, they are such wonderful people,
I’ll have to do something for them!” As we have seen before, there is
nothing in us that would call out the grace of God, other than our great
need. We are justified without a cause. It is by His grace, which means
that there is no merit on our part. Grace is unmerited favor; it is love
in action. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Stated another way, justification is not based in any way on our moral improvement.
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. (Romans 3 Commentary)
has this to say about dorean...
When we understand this (word
dorean), we can see the true basis of our salvation. There was
absolutely nothing within man that could recommend him to God. God did
not sit in Heaven and look down upon this earth until He had found
something in some men that recommended them to Him. He gave salvation to
men who deserved Hell. There will not be one person in Heaven who
deserved Heaven except the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only one who
merited Heaven. But an innumerable company who merited Hell are going to
be in Heaven simply because the grace of God decided that they should be
there. (God's Remedy : Romans 3:21-4:1-25)
Peter uses the verb form of dorean (doreomai) in
2 Peter 1:3-4 writing that
power has granted (doreomai from dorea - gift, stressing the
gratuitous character) to us everything (How much?)
pertaining to life and godliness (eusebeia
- word study), through the true knowledge (epignosis
- word study) of Him who
called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has
granted (doreomai) to us His precious (timios
- word study) and magnificent promises, in
order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped (apopheugo
- word study) the corruption that is in the world by lust
- word study). (see
2 Peter 1:3-4)
Justification is not a wage that God owes us--the only wage He owes us
is death (Ro 6:23); it is a gift that He offers freely.
not reward that we deserve but in fact is charity for the undeserving.
The forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of God are free gifts.
That means they cost us nothing because they cost Christ everything!
They cannot be earned with works or inherited through parents or
absorbed through sacraments. They are free, and can only be received by faith.
Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to Thy cross I cling
"Rock of Ages")
BY HIS GRACE: te autou chariti:
- English = charity)
(Click in depth study of
is favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the
one who receives it and in spite of what that person deserves. An
accurate succinct definition of grace is the unmerited favor of God
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.
G.R.A.C.E. (God's Riches At Christ's Expense) wholly apart from any
merit in ourselves. God's grace is undeserved, unsought, and unbought.
Girdlestone writes that
Grace is the free bestowal of kindness on one who has
neither claim upon our bounty, nor adequate compensation to make for
R. B. Synonyms of the Old Testament)
MacArthur adds that
reveals God’s righteousness and exposes man’s unrighteousness. Grace,
on the other hand, not only reveals God’s righteousness but actually
gives His righteousness to those who trust in His Son." (MacArthur,
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)
Dictionary writes that
is the dimension of divine activity that enables God to confront human
indifference and rebellion with an inexhaustible capacity to forgive and
to bless." (Elwell,
W. A., & Comfort, P. W. Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Tyndale House
Grace is the good that you get from someone when he owes you
nothing. So what Paul means when he says that we are "justified as a
gift by his grace" is that we can't work for justification. The phrase
"as a gift" means you can't pay for it. And the phrase "by his grace"
means you can't work for it.
tells the following story that speaks of God's gracious gift...
In the days of Moody, there was a
minister named Harry Morehouse who often helped Moody in his campaigns.
One morning he was walking along the street in a poor part of one of our
great cities and witnessed a minor tragedy. A small boy, who could not
have been more than five or six years of age, came out of a store with a
pitcher of milk in his hands. The little fellow was making his way
carefully along the street when he slipped and fell, the pitcher
breaking, and the milk running all over the sidewalk. He let out a wail,
and Harry Morehouse rushed to see if he were hurt. There was no physical
damage but he would not be consoled, crying out over and over, “My
mama’ll whip me! My mama’ll whip me.”
Mr. Morehouse said to him, “Maybe the
pitcher is not broken in too many pieces; let us see if we can put it
together again.” The boy stopped crying at once, as he had no doubt seen
bits of crockery glued together to remake a broken plate or cup. He
watched as Mr. Morehouse placed the base of the pitcher on the sidewalk
and started building up the pieces. There were one or two failures and
the pieces fell apart. At each failure the boy started crying again, but
was silenced by the big preacher who was helping him so much. Finally,
the entire pitcher was reconstructed from the pieces, and it stood there
in perfect shape on the sidewalk. The little fellow was given the
handle, and he poked it toward the place where it belonged, and, of
course, knocked the whole thing apart once more. This time there was no
stopping his tears, and it was then that Mr. Morehouse gathered the boy
in his arms and walked down the street with him to a nearby crockery
store. He entered with the lad and bought a new pitcher. Then he went
back to the milk store, had the pitcher washed and filled with milk.
Carrying the boy on one arm and the pitcher of milk in the other hand,
he followed the boy’s instructions until they arrived at his home. Very
gently he deposited the lad on his front steps, carefully put the
pitcher in his hands and then said to him, “Now will your mama whip
you?” A smile broke on the boy’s streaked face, and he answered, “Aw, no
sir! ’cause it’s a lot better pitcher ’an we had before.”
The story may be very simple, but it
represents faintly what the Lord Jesus Christ did for me and for you.
Whether you will accept the fact or not, you had dropped the pitcher of
your life and its milk was spilled beyond regathering. You may have
spent much time in trying to patch the pieces together again, but God
assures you that you are broken beyond repair. It was when we were thus,
broken and hopeless, in the despair of our lost soul and our crashed
hopes that the Lord Jesus intervened to save us. He may have watched our
efforts at patching for a while, until we could come to the place where
we believed beyond question that it is impossible for us to repair our
lives in a way that would ever satisfy the holiness of the Heavenly
Father. It was then that He carried us in His arms and purchased for us
an entirely new nature, a new life, which He imparted to us on the basis
of His loving kindness and tender mercies. It was not because there was
good in us, but because there was grace in Him. It was not because there
was righteousness in our hearts, but because there was grace in His
describing grace wrote that...
“The grace of God is infinite love
operating by an infinite means—the sacrifice of Christ; and an infinite
freedom, unhindered, now, by the temporary restrictions of the
law...Everything connected with God’s salvation is glad in bestowment,
infinite in extent, and unchangeable in its character.” (Romans 3 Commentary)
In order to avoid confusion later on, we should pause here to explain
that there are six different aspects of justification in the NT.
We are said to be justified by grace, by faith, by blood, by power, by
God, and by works; yet there is no contradiction or conflict.
We are justified by grace— we do not deserve it.
We are justified by faith (see note
Romans 5:1)—that means that we have to receive it
by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are justified by blood (see note
Romans 5:9)—that refers to the price the Savior
paid in order that we might be justified.
We are justified by power (see notes
Ro 4:24-25)—the same power that raised
the Lord Jesus from the dead.
We are justified by God (see note
Romans 8:33)—He is the One who reckons us righteous.
We are justified by works (Ja 2:24)—not meaning that good works earn
justification, but that they are the evidence that we have been
justified. We are shown to be justified by our works.
THROUGH THE REDEMPTION WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS: dia tes
tes en Christo Iesou:
(Ro 5:9; Isa 53:11; Mt 20:28; Eph 1:6,7; Col 1:14; 1Ti 2:6; Titus 2:14;
Heb 9:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14; 1Pet 1:18,19; Rev 5:9;
20:28 Mk 10:45 Lk 21:28 Acts 20:28 Ro 3:24,3:25 Ro 8:23 1Cor 1:30 Gal
3:13 Eph 1:7, 1:14, 4:30, 5:2, 1Ti 2:6 Titus 2:14 Heb 9:12,22, 10:12,
13, 14 1Pe 1:18, 19, 20, 3:18, 1Jn 2:2 Rev 1:5, 5:9, 14:4)
(For more on redemption see related resources - Easton's
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Theology) (Click following for Dr Wayne
Barber on redemption in Ephesians
act of liberation (NEB)
to see how to perform Greek word
study using apolutrosis as the example.
And so Paul
teaches that God grace makes Him favorably disposed to do justify
sinners, not because of any merit in them but because He is gracious and
chooses to manifest his grace towards men. But can God do this simply by
a decision of his will without any objective action on his part? Not
according to this verse, so that Paul goes on to explain that sinners
can be pronounced righteous because He has acting in providing
redemption ("through the redemption").
Christ Jesus is our "Redeemer"
which although not used as a title in the New Testament is found at
least some 19 times in the OT (Click for "Redeemer" in the OT)
WHEN I SURVEY
THE WONDROUS CROSS
Isaac Watt's hymn)
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God:
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spread o’er his body on the tree;
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
(dia) is a marker by which something is
accomplished, in this case explaining how "justification" is made
available to undeserving sinners.
Now there comes in a new principle, —
the principle of grace, which accomplishes what the law never could
accomplish; that is, the free justification of all the guilty ones who
believe in Jesus. And this justification is a righteous one, seeing that
it is based upon “the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
I have heard of Robert Burns, that on
one occasion when at church, he sat in a pew with a young lady whom he
observed to be much affected by certain terrible passages of Scripture
which the minister quoted in his sermon. The wicked wag scribbled on a
piece of paper a verse which he passed to her. I fear that the
sub-stance of that verse has been whispered into many of your ears
Fair maid, you need not take the
Nor idle texts pursue;
'Twas only sinners that he meant,
Not angels such as you.
This sermon is meant for those who
think themselves angels as well as for those who know them-selves to be
sinners. Cease from all dreamy confidences. Arouse your-selves from
proud self-content, and come to Jesus the Savior, who alone can save
from sin and death.
Redemption is Charles Haddon Spurgeon's initial foray
into teaching his young London flock the "deep things of God."
Click the sermon and read his
fascinating introduction and explanation. What is intriguing is that he
began his introduction into the "deep things of God" with
this sermon on "the doctrine of Redemption.
"He gave his life a
ransom for many." (Mt 20:28)
"But now, since the circumstances are changed, the
teaching will be changed also. I shall not now simply confine myself to
the doctrine of faith, or the teaching of believer's baptism; I shall
not stay upon the surface of matters, but shall venture, as God shall
guide me, to enter into those things that lie at the basis of the
religion that we hold so dear. I shall not blush to preach before you
the doctrine of God's Divine Sovereignty; I shall not stagger to preach
in the most unreserved and unguarded manner the doctrine of election. I
shall not be afraid to propound the great truth of the final
perseverance of the saints; I shall not withhold that undoubted truth of
Scripture, the effectual calling of God's elect; I shall endeavour, as
God shall help me, to keep back nothing from you who have become my
flock. Seeing that many of you have now "tasted that the Lord is
gracious," we will endeavour to go through the whole system of the
doctrines of grace, that saints may be edified and built up in their
most holy faith...
doctrine of Redemption
is one of the most important doctrines of the system of faith. A mistake
on this point will inevitably lead to a mistake through the entire
system of our belief."
(Bolding added. Excerpt from his sermon
Particular Redemption, see Spurgeon's
Redemption Through Blood, the Gracious Forgiveness
Bought With a Price)
(Click for a
similar thought by John Piper)
from apo = marker of dissociation or separation + lutroo = to redeem <> from lútron = ransom <> from lúo = loosen what is bound, loose any person tied or
fastened) is the payment of a price to ransom (lutron
= money for a ransom = ransom or price paid for a slave who is then set
free by the one who bought him), to release (of someone
from the power of someone else), to buy back or to deliver
one from a situation from in which one is powerless to liberate
themselves from or for which the penalty was so costly that they could
never hope to pay the ransom price. In other words, the idea of redemption is deliverance or release by payment of a ransom.
used only once in the Septuagint in Da 4:19 where it refers to the time
of Nebuchadnezzar's recovery from his madness without any suggestion of
price or cost.
rightly notes that...
The central theme of redemption in
Scripture is that God has taken the initiative to act compassionately on
behalf of those who are powerless to help themselves. The New Testament
makes clear that divine redemption includes God's identification with
humanity in its plight, and the securing of liberation of humankind
through the obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection of the
incarnate Son. (Redeem,
Redemption - from the well done summary article in Baker's Evangelical
The figure of redemption is very
simple, and has been very frequently used in Scripture. When a prisoner
has been taken captive, and has been made a slave by some barbarous
power, it has been usual, before he could be set free, that a ransom
price should be paid down. Now, we being, by the fall of Adam, prone to
guiltiness, and, indeed, virtually guilty, we were by the irreproachable
judgment of God given up to the vengeance of the law; we were given into
the hands of justice; justice claimed us to be his bond slaves for ever,
unless we could pay a ransom, whereby our souls could be redeemed. We
were, indeed, poor as owlets, we had not wherewith to bless ourselves.
We were, as our hymn hath worded it, "bankrupt debtors;" an execution
was put into our house; all we had was sold; we were left naked, and
poor, and miserable, and we could by no means find a ransom; it was just
then that Christ stepped in, stood sponsor for us, and, in the room and
stead of all believers, did pay the ransom price, that we might in that
hour be delivered from the curse of the law and the vengeance of God,
and go our way, clean, free, justified by his blood.
is found 10 times in the NT and is translated - redemption, 9; release,
Luke 21:28 "But when these things
(Always stop and ask "What things?" - then go back and read the
preceding context - see question posed to Jesus in Lk 21:7 - ) begin to
take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your
redemption (future tense salvation - glorification, which marks the
consummation and completion of our redemptions - cp Ep 1:14 below) is
Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the
redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Romans 8:23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first
fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting
eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became
to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and
Ephesians 1:7 (note)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of
our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,
Ephesians 1:14 (note)
who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the
redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 4:30 (note)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for
the day of redemption.
Colossians 1:14 (note)
in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:15 (note)
And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that
since a death has taken place for the redemption of the
transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who
have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 11:35 (note)
Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were
tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might
obtain a better resurrection;
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.
Romans Verse by Verse (Ro 3:24).Ryrie (Ryrie
Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
Three ideas are involved in the
doctrine of redemption:
(1) paying the ransom with the blood
1Cor 6:20 For you have been
bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Rev 5:9 And they sang a new
song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals;
for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from
every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
(2) removal from the curse of the law
Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us
from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is
written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"
Gal 4:5 in order that He might
redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption
(3) release from the bondage of sin
into the freedom of grace (here and in 1 Peter 1:18).
1Peter 1:18 knowing that you were
not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile
way of life inherited from your forefathers, (see
Redemption is always through His
blood; i.e., through the death of Christ (Col 1:14).
in Whom we have
forgiveness of sins. (see
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. (Romans 3 Commentary)
Barclay writes that apolutrosis conveys
"In every case
the conception (of) the delivering of a man from a situation from
which he was powerless to liberate himself or from a penalty which he
himself could never have paid." He goes on to relate that the Roman
philosopher Seneca who tutored and advised Nero was "full of this
kind of feeling of helpless frustration. Men, he said, were
overwhelmingly conscious of their inefficiency in necessary things. He
said of himself that he was a homo non tolerabilis, a man not to be
tolerated. Men, he said with a kind of despair, love their vices and
hate them at the same time. What men need, he cried, is a hand let down
to lift them up. The highest thinkers in the pagan world knew that they
were in the grip of something from which they were helpless to deliver
themselves. They needed liberation. It was just that liberation
which Jesus Christ brought. It is still true that he can liberate men
from helpless slavery to the things which attract and disgust them at
one and the same time." (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster
Apolutrosis was used
was used in secular Greek as a technical term for money paid to buy back
and set free prisoners of war or to emancipate (= to
liberate a person from subjection or domination, to free from restraint,
control, or the power of another) slaves from their masters.
Apolutrosis would have been a very meaningful term to the
first century reader as there were by some accounts up to 60 million
slaves in the Roman Empire! Many of these slaves became Christians and
fellowshipped in the local assemblies. A slave could purchase his own
freedom, if he could collect sufficient funds or his master could sell
him to someone who would pay the price and set him free. Redemption was
a precious thing in Paul's day.
Jesus answering the unbelieving
Jews who claimed never to have been enslaved to anyone (which of course
was incorrect historically)
"answered them" declaring "Truly,
truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin."
Believers have been ransomed, bought
out of slavery to sin, like the redemption of a bondservant by a
kinsman-redeemer (Lev 25:49).
Before redemption we were held captive by Satan to do his will and were
enslaved to our old sin nature inherited from Adam. As noted above a
Roman or Grecian slave could be freed with the payment of money, but
no amount of money can set an enslaved sinner
The redemption of a sinner is only possible by payment of the
ransom price, the blood of Christ. Peter writes that believers
not redeemed (lutroo) with perishable things like
silver or gold from your futile (a lifestyle that is without
purpose, unfruitful, and useless) way of life inherited from your
forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and
spotless, the blood of Christ. (see note
1 Peter 1:18-19,
cf 1Co 6:20; Rev 5:9-note)
Jesus explained to His disciples that
"even the Son of Man did not
come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom (lutron = the ransom price) for many." (Mk
10:45 cf Mt 20:28)
I Gave My Life for Thee
Frances Ridley Havergal
(Her first hymn!)
I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed;
That thou might ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead.
I gave, I gave, My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?
Jamieson comments that...
through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus (is) a most important clause; teaching us that though
justification is quite gratuitous, it is not a mere fiat of the divine
will, but based on a "Redemption," that is, "the
payment of a Ransom," in
Christ's death. That this is the sense of the word "redemption," when
applied to Christ's death, will appear clear to any impartial student of
the passages where it occurs.
Guzik writes that...
The word redemption had
its origin in the release of prisoners of war on payment of a price and
was know as the "ransom." As time went on, it was extended to include
the freeing of slaves, again by the payment of a price.
The idea of redemption means that Jesus bought us, therefore we
belong to Him. Paul expressed this thought in another letter: For you
were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your
spirit, which are God's. (1Co 6:20) (Ref)
A dignified looking lady once
approached the great preacher Dr. G. Campbell Morgan and said,
Morgan, I don’t like to hear about the blood. It is repulsive to me and
offends my esthetic nature."
Dr. Morgan replied,
with you that it is repulsive, but the only thing repulsive about it is
your sin and mine."
It is repulsive to man, but it is through His
blood that we have redemption.
Paul writes that in Christ
have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us." (Eph 1:7-8
Christ's shed blood is a metonym (figure of speech in
which one thing is designated by the mention of something associated
with it) for death, the penalty and the price of sin. Christ’s
death, by the shedding of His blood, was the substitute for our death
and the ransom price that freed us from the bondage and guilt of our old
Master "Sin" and introduced us into a life of liberty.
Paul gives us an interesting
"definition" if you will of "redemption" writing that in
"we have redemption (apolutrosis), the
forgiveness of sins." (see note
Christ's Blood shed for me for the
forgiveness of sins. His death for my life. Redemption results in the
forgiveness of sins.
Paul explains that in
regard to our salvation we can never boast about anything but the Lord
by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom
from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and
redemption (apolutrosis)" (1Cor
Paul explains that the
is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption (apolutrosis) of
God's own possession, to the praise of His glory." (Eph
1:14 - note) (Comment:
This is a
to our "future" redemption)
Later in the same letter he makes another
reference to our future redemption, admonishing the saints not to
grieve the Holy
Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of
redemption (apolutrosis)" (Eph
Here Paul refers
to that future day when our bodies are glorified, that day when final
redemption is realized. It is worth noting therefore that Christ's death
on the cross has purchased not only present but final
liberation. This is good news beloved
In Romans he again
refers to our future redemption writing
we ourselves, having the
first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the
redemption (apolutrosis) of
our body. (Ro 8:23-note)
"Future" redemption is that day when we receive our
resurrected glorified body and final deliverance from the "ills that the
flesh is heir to". It refers to the final and complete deliverance of
our earthly bodies not just from the power of
but even the presence of sin and the pleasure of sin and the resultant
tension which we constantly feel as long as we are in these mortal
The writer of Hebrews explained that Jesus
is the mediator of a new
covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the
redemption (apolutrosis - Cranfield calls "the innermost
meaning of the cross" ) of the transgressions that were
committed under the first covenant (here we see the explanation of how
sinners could have been saved in the OT before Christ was crucified -
see same idea in Ro 3:25-note), those who have been called may
receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:15
One of the effects of the apolutrosis procured by the
death of Christ was to redeem all those who had believed in God under
the Old Covenant. After Christ died, they saw what had only before been
a promise - it was a certain promise, a guaranteed promise, but until
the Messiah’s atoning death, it was an unfulfilled promise. The point is
that Christ’s atoning death was retroactive. Yom Kippur (the Day of
Atonement) also pictured symbolically what Christ’s atonement did
actually, for Yom Kippur was "retroactive". When the high priest
sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat, the unintentional sins of the
people were covered for the previous year.
Redemption, Redeem (apolutrosis)
Vine's Greek Lexicon
a strengthened form of
lit., "a releasing, for (i.e., on payment of) a ransom." It is
(a) "deliverance" from physical
(b) the deliverance of the people of
God at the coming of Christ with His glorified saints, "in a cloud
with power and great glory," Lk 21:28, a "redemption" to be
accomplished at the "outshining of His Parousia," 2Thes 2:8, i.e.,
at His second advent;
(c) forgiveness and justification,
"redemption" as the result of expiation, deliverance from the
guilt of sins, Ro 3:24, "through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus;" Eph 1:7, defined as "the forgiveness of our trespasses,"
RV; so Col 1:14, "the forgiveness of our sins," indicating both
the liberation from the guilt and doom of sin and the introduction
into a life of liberty, "newness of life" (Ro 6:4); Heb 9:15, "for
the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first
covenant," RV, here "redemption of" is equivalent to "redemption
from," the genitive case being used of the object from which the
"redemption" is effected, not from the consequence of the
transgressions, but from the transgressions themselves;
(d) the deliverance of the believer
from the presence and power of sin,
and of his body from bondage to corruption, at the coming (the
Parousia in its inception) of the Lord Jesus, Ro 8:23; 1Cor 1:30;
Eph 1:14; Eph 4:30. See
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New
Testament Words. 1996. Nelson
To the Jews "redeemed"
would bring to mind the picture of God's deliverance from Egyptian
bondage (Ex 6:6, 15:13). Years later the return of the Jewish exiles
from Babylon was depicted in similar terms (Isa 52:3)
Jehovah declaring that
nothing and you will be
redeemed (Hebrew = Ga'al = act as
kinsman redeemer; Lxx =
lutroo - word study)
In the Old Testament, redemption involves deliverance from bondage based on the
payment of a price by a kinsman redeemer, a concept beautifully pictured
by Boaz's redemption of Ruth which prefigured the Messiah as
Kinsman-Redeemer of all who would receive His free gift by faith. (Click
study on Ruth - with discussion of Goel = Kinsman Redeemer on this website).
REDEMPTION, n. [L. redemptio.]
Websters 1828 Dictionary
1. Repurchase of captured goods
or prisoners; the act of procuring the deliverance of persons or
things from the possession and power of captors by the payment of
an equivalent; ransom; release; as the redemption of prisoners
taken in war; the redemption of a ship and cargo. (Redeem:
To purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity
or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be
forfeited, by paying an equivalent; as, to redeem prisoners or
captured goods; to redeem a pledge. To repurchase what has been
sold; to regain possession of a thing alienated, by repaying the
value of it to the possessor.)
2. Deliverance from bondage, distress, or from liability to any
evil or forfeiture, either by money, labor or other means. (Redeem:
To rescue; to recover; to deliver from)
3. Repurchase, as of lands alienated.
4. The liberation of an estate from a mortgage; or the purchase of
the right to re-enter upon it by paying the principal sum for
which it was mortgaged with interest and cost; also, the right of
redeeming and re-entering.
5. Repurchase of notes, bills or other evidence of debt by paying
their value in specie to their holders.
6. In theology, the purchase of God's favor by the death and
sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from
the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law by the
atonement of Christ. (Redeem: In theology, to rescue
and deliver from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's
violated law, by obedience and suffering in the place of the
sinner, or by doing and suffering that which is accepted in lieu
of the sinner's obedience. In commerce, to purchase or pay
the value in specie, of any promissory note, bill or other
evidence of debt, given by the state, by a company or corporation,
or by an individual. The credit of a state, a banking company or
individuals, is good when they can redeem all their stock, notes
or bills, at par.)
Jesus describing the events
surrounding the end of this age uses apolutrosis to
describe the final redemption brought about by His triumphant return
when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your
heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Lk 21:28)
In this context apolutrosis in suggests not just redemption from slavery to
but redemption from
political oppression and establishment of an independent Jewish state.
Apolutrosis is found on a coin struck circa 133-34AD, which reads "First year of
the Redemption of Israel".
It cost more to redeem us than to create us. In creation it was but
speaking a word. In redemption the Word became flesh and blood (Jn 1:1,14)
and shed of His precious blood (1Pe 1:19 -
1Peter 1:19). Creation was the work of God's
fingers (Ps 8:3-Spurgeon's
note); redemption was the work of his arm (Lk 1:51). In
creation, God gave us ourselves; in the redemption he gave us Himself.
By creation, we have life in Adam; by redemption, we have life in Christ
The Ten Commandments by Thomas Watson.)
The Gospel is first presented as the bad news to bring one to the point
of conviction of personal sin before it can be understood as the good
news of redemption from bondage to sin.
Spurgeon related to redemption...
Exodus 10:26 Full Redemption
Luke 19:10 The Mission Of The Son Of Man
Matthew 20:28 Particular Redemption
Psalm 130:7 Plenteous Redemption
Ephesians 1:7 Redemption Thru Blood, The Gracious
Forgiveness Of Sins
The word means to buy back by paying
a price, and set free
1. Man’s ruin - Isaiah 52:3; Jn
8:34; Ro 6:20-
2. Man’s helplessness - Ps 49:7-note; Micah 6:7
3. A redeemer provided - Job 33:24; Ps 111:9
4. Redemption by blood - Eph 1:7
- note; Acts 20:28; He 9:12
5. Redemption by power - Eph 1:13, 14 -
note; Eph 4:30-note;
6. Redemption from iniquity - Titus 2:!4
-note; 1Pe 1:18-
7. Redemption from the curse - Gal 3:3; Ps 103:4
8. Redemption of the body Ro 8:23
- note; Php
(From the Book of 750 Bible and
Gospel Studies, 1909, George W Noble, Chicago)
John Piper speaks about the practical
importance that every believer understand this section of Romans writing
If you build your life on these verses (Ro 3:23,24)
- if the truth of these two verses becomes the foundation of your life -
you will be unshakable in a hundred crises. If these verses become the
sun in the solar system of your life, all your planets will orbit in
harmony around the will of God. But if you put these verses out on
the rim of your life (say near Neptune or Pluto) you need not be
surprised if there is confusion and uncertainty and fear and weakness in
your life. There are some truths that are so foundational and so central
that you should memorize them, meditate on them, bind them to your mind
and heart with chains and ropes and every kind of adhesive you can find.
Many professing Christians are very weak, and amble through their days
pretty much like unbelievers, because they don't hold on to these verses
the way a drowning man takes hold of his rescuer's arm. (Read full
The Demonstration of God's Righteousness)
Below is a
Contemporary example of "redemption" taken from the Global
Prayer Digest (01/06/01)...
"The two men stood in the shadowy door of a popular brothel
in the heart of Phnom Penh's red light district. Five hundred dollars
was exchanged. This was not the fee for one night with a prostitute.
This "fortune" was paid to redeem a young girl's life from prostitution.
God is opening a better way, and there is new hope. Seten Lee's
Kampuchea for Christ, received a generous gift from the U.S.,
providing funds to build a home for these girls on a plot of land close
to Phnom Penh. It will provide housing, food, counseling, and vocational
training for these girls as they leave their degrading lives of
prostitution." Do you think they in a human sense could sing the old
hymn "Redeemed how I love to proclaim it". May God's Spirit move that
they can also sing "Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!"
Nor Silver Nor Gold
by James Gray
Click to play
Nor silver nor gold hath
Nor riches of earth could have saved my poor soul;
The blood of the cross is my only foundation,
The death of my Savior now maketh me whole.
I am redeemed, but not with silver,
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price, the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.
Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my
The guilt on my conscience too heavy had grown;
The blood of the cross is my only foundation,
The death of my Savior could only atone.
William Newell closes this
section writing that...
Before you leave Romans 3:24, 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. (Romans:
Verse by Verse)
Which is in Christ Jesus -
Paul reverses the more common name “Jesus Christ” probably to stress the
fact that God provided redemption by supplying the payment in the Person
of the Messiah (Christ) Who was promised in the Old Testament and
who was incarnate as the God-Man Jesus of Nazareth.
Regarding Paul's first use of "In
Christ Jesus" Cranfield writes that this phrase...
is naturally explained as intended to
indicate that it was in and through Christ Jesus, that is, in and
through His Person and Work, that God accomplished His redeeming action.
The thought, is of the accomplishment of the redeeming action in the
past, not of the availability of redemption in the present through union
with Christ. (Cranfield,
C. E. B. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the
Romans. London; New York: T&T Clark International. 1975l)
Thompson Chain Reference
God the Author of
1 Corinthians 1:30
1 Peter 1:18
Blood of Christ
1 Peter 1:18
1 Peter 1:19
1 John 1:7
Cross of Christ
The Doctrine of Preached - 1
The Doctrine of Gloried in -Galatians 6:14
Reconciliation through -Ephesians 2:16
Enemies of -Philippians 3:18
Peace made by -Colossians 1:20
Old Testament ordinances abolished by Colossians 2:14
Of Land and Persons
Defined -1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23
Is of God -Isaiah 44:21-23; 43:1; Luke 1:68
Is by Christ -Matthew 20:28; Galatians 3:13
Is by the blood of Christ -Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:19;
Christ sent to effect -Galatians 4:4,5
Christ is made, to us -1 Corinthians 1:30
The bondage of the law -Galatians 4:5
The curse of the law -Galatians 3:13
The power of sin -Romans 6:18,22
The power of the grave -Psalms 49:15
All troubles -Psalms 25:22
All iniquity -Psalms 130:8; Titus 2:14
All evil -Genesis 48:16
The present evil world -Galatians 1:4
Vain conversation -1 Peter 1:18
Enemies -Psalms 106:10,11; Jeremiah 15:21
Death -Hosea 13:14
Destruction -Psalms 103:4
Man cannot effect -Psalms 49:7
Corruptible things cannot purchase -1 Peter 1:18
PROCURES FOR US
Justification -Romans 3:24
Forgiveness of sin -Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14
Adoption -Galatians 4:4,5
Purification -Titus 2:14
The present life, the only season for -Job 36:18,19
Precious -Psalms 49:8
Plenteous -Psalms 130:7
Eternal -Hebrews 9:12
The soul -Psalms 49:8
The body -Romans 8:23
The life -Psalms 103:4; Lamentations 3:58
The inheritance -Ephesians 1:14
Power of God -Isaiah 50:2
Grace of God -Isaiah 52:3
Love and pity of God -Isaiah 63:9; John 3:16; Romans 6:8; 1 John 4:10
A subject for praise -Isaiah 44:22,23; 51:11
Old Testament saints partakers of -Hebrews 9:15
THEY WHO PARTAKE OF
Are the property of God -Isaiah 43:1; 1 Corinthians 6:20
Are first-fruits to God -Revelation 14:4
Are a peculiar people -2 Samuel 7:23; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9
Are assured of -Job 19:25; Psalms 31:5
Are sealed to the day of -Ephesians 4:30
Are Zealous of good works -Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9
Walk safely in holiness -Isaiah 35:8,9
Shall return to Zion with joy -Isaiah 35:10
Alone can learn the songs of heaven -Revelation 14:3,4
Commit themselves to God -Psalms 31:5
Have an earnest of the completion of -Ephesians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 1:22
Wait for the completion of -Romans 8:23; Philippians 3:20,21; Titus
Pray for the completion of -Psalms 26:11; 44:26
Praise God for -Psalms 71:23; 103:4; Revelation 5:9
Should glorify God for -1 Corinthians 6:20
Should be without fear -Isaiah 43:1
Israel -Exodus 6:6
First-born -Exodus 13:11-15; Numbers 18:15
Atonement-money -Exodus 30:12-15
Bond-servant -Leviticus 25:47-54
><> ><> ><>
Settled the Issue - The price Jesus paid for our
redemption was terrible indeed. When we think of the extreme suffering
He endured to purchase our freedom from sin’s penalty, our hearts
should overflow with love for Him. Leslie B. Flynn told a story that
illustrates this truth.
An orphaned boy was living with his
grandmother when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get
upstairs to rescue the boy, perished in the flames. The boy’s cries for
help were finally answered by a man who climbed an iron drainpipe and
came back down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck.
Several weeks later, a public hearing
was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer,
a teacher, and the town’s wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they
felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked,
the lad’s eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to
the front and slowly took his hands from his pockets, revealing severe
scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition.
This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when
he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the
man’s neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked
away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had
settled the issue.
Many voices are calling for our
attention. Among them is the One whose nail-pierced hands remind us that
He has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences. To Him belongs
our love and devotion. -D. C. Egner (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
><> ><> ><>
Winston Churchill -
A wealthy English family once invited
friends to spend some time at their beautiful estate. The happy
gathering was almost plunged into a terrible tragedy on the first day.
When the children went swimming, one of them got into deep water and was
drowning. Fortunately, the gardener heard the others screaming and
plunged into the pool to rescue the helpless victim. That youngster was
Winston Churchill. His parents, deeply grateful to the gardener, asked
what they could do to reward him. He hesitated, then said, “I wish my
son could go to college someday and become a doctor.” “We’ll pay his
way,” replied Churchill’s parents.
Years later when Sir Winston was
prime minister of England, he was stricken with pneumonia. Greatly
concerned, the king summoned the best physician who could be found to
the bedside of the ailing leader. That doctor was Sir Alexander Fleming,
the developer of penicillin. He was also the son of that gardener who
had saved Winston from drowning as a boy! Later Churchill said, “Rarely
has one man owed his life twice to the same person.”
What was rare in the case of that
great English statesman is in a much deeper sense a wonderful reality
for every believer in Christ. The Heavenly Father has given us the gift
of physical life, and then through His Son, the Great Physician, He has
imparted to us eternal life.
May the awareness that we are doubly
indebted to God as our Creator and Redeemer motivate us to present our
bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him. - D. J. De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
><> ><> ><>
Our Daily Bread - Sing Redeemed -
A story told by Paul Lee Tan
illustrates the meaning of redemption: When A. J. Gordon was pastor of a
church in Boston, he met a young boy in front of the sanctuary carrying
a rusty cage in which several birds fluttered nervously. Gordon
inquired, “Son, where did you get those birds?”
The boy replied, “I trapped them out
in the field.”
“What are you going to do with
“I’m going to play with them, and
then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.”
Gordon offered to buy them, and the
lad exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old
wild birds and can’t sing very well.”
Gordon replied, “I’ll give you $2
for the cage and the birds.”
“Okay, it’s a deal, but you’re
making a bad bargain.”
The exchange was made and the boy
went away whistling, happy with his shiny coins. Gordon walked around to
the back of the church property, opened the door of the small wire coop,
and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue.
The next Sunday he took the empty
cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about
Christ’s coming to seek and to save the lost—paying for them with His
own precious blood. “That boy told me the birds were not songsters,”
said Gordon, “but when I released them and they winged their way
heavenward, it seemed to me they were singing, ‘Redeemed, redeemed,
You and I have been held captive to
sin, but Christ has purchased our pardon and set us at liberty. When a
person has this life-changing experience, he will want to sing,
“Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed!” (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
C H Spurgeon asks...
Dear hearers, are you all justified,
that is, made just, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? You
are certainly all guilty in the sight of God; have you all been made
righteous by faith in the redemption accomplished on the cross by Christ
Jesus our Lord? I beg you to consider this question most seriously; and
if you must truthfully answer, “No,” may God make you tremble, and
drive you to your knees in penitence to cry to him for pardon!