Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 137 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Romans 3 today and our focus is on the Gospel in a nutshell. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Perhaps if you are of a certain age, you are familiar with the Roman Road of Salvation. No, it is not an old road in Rome that somehow lead to Jesus, or anything like that, instead, it is a series of verses in Romans that were used to proclaim the gospel. Basically it goes like this:
Share those 5 passages, and then ask somebody to pray the prayer of salvation. I’m not sure when the Roman Road of salvation came into play, but there is certainly a reason it was quite popular – these five passages, six verses in total, basically lay out the core of the good news: All people have sinned – the reward/payment for sin is death, God loves us, though, and sent Christ to die to pay for our sins, believing in faith that God raised Jesus from the dead, saying He is Lord out loud and calling upon the name of the Lord is the way to salvation. It is very succinct, very theologically accurate, and a great way to nutshell the gospel – compress it down to its simplest form, so to speak. That said, you can pretty much do something similar with our passage today, because the middle of Romans 3 contains some of the most profound, but short, theological truths in the entire Bible:
22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as the mercy seat by his blood, through faith
This good news in 3.5 verses shows us that all humans are guilty of sin, and therefore are unable to enter God’s glorious presence, or dwell in God’s glorious Heaven. By a gracious offer, not by merit, class, charisma, looks, power, or works – God’s righteousness and justification is available THROUGH FAITH to wipe the slate of our sins clean, and make us righteous in God’s eyes, and thus able to enter Heaven. The door is open to Heaven because Jesus’s sacrifice is the mercy-payment for our sin, and that payment is applied to us by FAITH. And that is the glorious good news in a nutshell – in one beautiful passage. It doesn’t explain everything, but it is the core of the gospel compressed about as much as you can compress it without losing something critical. The good news in 3.5 verses – and you can take those verses and immediately go as deep as a thousand oceans.
Let’s start with one small word – the word translated by the CSB as ‘mercy seat,’ and by the KJV as ‘propitiation.’ This, my friends, is a deep, deep word. It is the same word that is used in Hebrews 9:5 for the cover of the Ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies – the deepest and most holy part of the tabernacle, where once a year, ONE priest went in and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the cover of the ark – the mercy seat – as an atoning payment for the sins of the people. Jesus is now that mercy seat, and the blood sprinkled on it is His own blood. Let’s read our passage and then turn to Spurgeon to help us understand it’s depth.
“Him hath God set forth to be a propitiation.”
Sinner, listen, and if thou hast already accepted that which the Father has revealed, let thy joy become full. God has set forth Christ as being a propitiation. The Greek word hath it ιλαστηριον hilastrion which, being translated, may mean a mercy seat or a covering. Now God hath said to the sinner, “Do you desire to meet me? would you be no longer my enemy? would you tell me your sorrows? would you receive my blessing? would you establish a commerce between your Creator and your soul? I set forth Christ to you as being the mercy seat, where I can meet with you and you can meet with me.” Or take the word as signifying a covering; as the mercy seat covered the tables of the law, and so covered that which was the cause of Divine ire, because we had broken his commandment. “Wouldst thou have anything which can cover thy sin? Cover it from me thy God, so that I need not be provoked to anger; cover it from you so that you need not be cowed with excessive fear, and tremble to approach me as thou didst when I came in thunders and lightnings upon Sinai? Wouldst thou have a shelter which shall hide altogether thy sins and thy iniquities? I set it forth to thee in the person of my bleeding Son. Trust in his blood, and thy sin is covered from my eyes; nay, it shall be covered from thine own eyes too; and being justified by faith, thou shalt have peace with God through Jesus Christ your Lord.” Oh that we may have grace to accept now what God the Father sets forth! The Romish priest sets forth this and that; our own Romish hearts set forth such-and-such-another thing; but God sets forth Christ. The preacher of doctrine sets forth a dogma; the preacher of experience sets forth a feeling; the preacher of practice often sets forth an effort; but God puts before you Christ. “Here will I meet with you.” This is the place of my rest—glorious to me, safe to you. Come to Christ! “Come to Christ, and you will come to me.” The Lord Almighty comes to Christ, and there he comes to you. God, then, hath set forth Christ Jesus; made him conspicuous as being the mercy-seat and the great hider of sin.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Christ Set Forth as a Propitiation,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 7 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1861), 203.
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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