“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
The finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross is the basis of our salvation by grace. It is a work that had been concealed until the cross and ended with Jesus’ death, right after He proclaimed, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
This work is perfect and complete. The sinner accesses this finished work, in full, at the time of personal belief (Rom 5:2) and cannot add nor subtract from it in any way. Therefore, God is completely and perfectly PROPITIATED by Christ’s shed blood; the sinner is completely and perfectly REDEEMED from sin; and is completely and perfectly RECONCILED to God at the time of personal belief.
Definition: The offering of a gift or sacrifice of sufficient value in order that the wrath of another might be fully satisfied.
“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
(1 John 2:2)
God is just and the law demands that the punishment for sin is death (Rom 6:23). Propitiation solves the problem of an offended God. The death of Christ exhausted God’s anger toward a sinful world and averted His wrath. His wrath has been turned into pleasure and God could no longer find the reason to continue in anger, thereby, enabling Him to receive into His family those who place their faith in Jesus Christ.
Christ died ONCE (Heb 9:28), perfectly and completely satisfied God’s anger toward our past, present and future sins.
“Christ has 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”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”
He did this by perfectly keeping the law, fulfilling it, and paying its curse (Mt 5:17; Gal 3:13). The law brought a “blessing” if obeyed or a “curse” if disobeyed. ANY failure to obey the law brought on the curse (Deut. 28:15-68). Therefore, EVERYONE was under the curse (Deut. 28:22) for all have sinned (Rom 3:23). Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by bearing our curse for us. The Greek word for “redeem” used here is EXAGORAZO and means “to buy OUT OF the slave market.” By dying on the cross, our Lord paid sin’s penalty in full and bought us out of the system of the law.
The blessing of Abraham comes to the believer on account of righteousness imputed by faith in Jesus and His finished work, apart from self worth. This entitles believers to receive the Holy Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:5-14)
We are dead to the law through the body of Christ. (Rom 7:4) This system of the law, of obedience to satisfying the demands of the 10 commandments, was then superseded by grace (Rom 6:14), with an emphasis on living by faith. When believers die to the law, it no longer has authority over them. Paul said, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
“That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
(2 Cor. 5:19)
The Greek root “katalasso” basically means to change completely. Reconciliation can also be looked at as an accounting term with the basic idea of ‘causing to be conformed to, adjusted to, a specific norm or standard’.
Jesus has changed the believer completely by becoming sin so that we can become the righteousness of God in Him (2Co 5:21). God no longer imputes our sins to us because He has imputed them to Jesus on the cross. Christ has made us acceptable to God, no longer enemies, by giving us the gift of righteousness (Romans 5). We have become a new creation in Christ (2Co 5:17) and are adopted into the family of God as sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:26). And if we are sons, then we are heirs of God through Christ. (Gal 4:7)
Therefore, as through one man’s offense (the first Adam) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act (the last Adam – Jesus Christ) the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:18-19)