Bought Out of Slavery - Gospel in Life

Bought Out of Slavery

Tim Keller |  February 7, 2016

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Romans 3:22-31
RS 364-05


We’re looking at the passage that Martin Luther thinks is the greatest single place in the Bible that explains the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he might be right, because it’s talking about three great gospel words.

The three great gospel words are redemption, propitiation, and justification. What do we need? Redemption. What does God do about it? Propitiation. And what do we get as a result? Justification.

Let’s unpack each of these tremendous words: 1) redemption, 2) propitiation, and 3) justification.

Sermon Summary

The theological principles of righteousness, faith, and justification are illuminated through the gospel of Jesus Christ, accentuating that all individuals, irrespective of their origins, have sinned but can attain justification through faith. The concept of boasting is addressed, affirming that justification is not a result of legalistic works, but faith. The inclusivity of God’s salvation, encompassing both Jews and Gentiles, is underscored, along with the key gospel terms of redemption, propitiation, and justification.

1. What’s our problem? What do we need? Redemption

Human beings universally require redemption, not only from financial obligations but also from guilt and the oppressive forces that dominate our lives. Our attempts to validate our existence through achievements or relationships often result in these elements becoming our oppressors, spotlighting our need for liberation from guilt and control. Ultimately, our physical bodies require salvation from decay and death, a redemption only attainable through Jesus Christ.

2. What does God do about it? Propitiation

The doctrine of propitiation, though often misconceived, is a profound expression of divine love and justice. It posits that God’s anger is not contrary to love, but a righteous response to evil, and that forgiveness entails absorbing the pain inflicted by others. The crucifixion of Jesus reinforces this principle, refuting the idea that Christianity is bloodthirsty, and instead demonstrating a God who sacrifices Himself to redeem mankind.

3. What do we get as a result? Justification

God’s forgiveness not only pardons sins but also bestows a new status filled with rights, privileges, and benefits through justification, a result of Jesus’s sacrifice. This concept is illustrated by comparing it to a man wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor, symbolizing the honor and recognition Jesus deserves. The importance of comprehending one’s Christian identity and finding justification in Jesus, rather than worldly success or opinions, is stressed, with the transformative impact of Billy Graham’s preaching on salvation serving as a powerful example.



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