An Atoning Sacrifice (Romans 3:25)

Reading Acts

Paul uses a wide variety of metaphors for salvation in the book of Romans, but the idea of redemption and sacrifice would have been most clear to both Jews and Gentiles. It is God who provides salvation through the faithful act of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus did not offer himself independently, the Cross is God’s way of providing redemption from sin (3:24). The Cross was part of Paul’s gospel proclamation from the beginning, so the Cross and the Gospel cannot be separated.

Mercy SeatIn Romans 3:25 Paul describes the death of Jesus as a sacrifice for sin. The key metaphor used in Romans 3:25 is an atoning sacrifice (ἱλαστήριον). Some translations use the term propitiation in 3:25 (ESV) and others use “atoning sacrifice” (NIV). This reflects a problem understanding the word ἱλαστήριον. It can refer to the means by which God forgives sin, specifically the sacrifice on the Day…

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