This is part three of the paper. Here you can find Part 1 and Part 2.


Romans 4:25

We will now explore how Christ’s vindication or justification by the Spirit is the believers’ justification by God. Because of the believer’s union with Christ they are indentified with the risen one; all that is His becomes theirs; His was the vindication by the Spirit. Therefore, they are also vindicated or justified by the Spirit by being raised with Christ.

Romans 4:25 states that Jesus Christ was “delivered up for our trespasses (παρεδόθη διὰ τὰ παραπτώματα ἡμῶν) and raised for our justification (ἠγέρθη διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν).”[1] The phrase is identified as a pre-Pauline statement[2] which is a christological interpretation of Isaiah 53:12.[3] The flow of the chapter is at the end of a discourse by Paul on the faith of Abraham.

Paul explores the quality of the faith of Abraham in verses 16-22.[4] He is building on the point that the promise made to Abraham came, not by the law, but by faith (v13). Thus, he is establishing the truth that the promise transcends ethnic boundaries.[5] It is by faith that the promise is granted; and this faith is not an abstract faith; it was a God-centered confidence.[6] Abraham’s faith was in God’s resurrecting power.[7] It was this faith which made him to be counted righteous (v22).[8] Then Paul turns to the readers and makes present-day application from Abraham’s faith. “Paul understands the work of God in Christ as an out working of the word of God to Abraham….the work of God in Christ brings the promise that created Abraham’s faith to fulfillment.”[9] Now, a child of Abraham puts faith, in likeness of Abraham, into Jesus Christ who was resurrected by the God of Abraham. Jesus, then, died for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Faith in the God who resurrects Christ grants the believer the righteousness obtained by the sacrifice of Christ. His resurrection becomes justifying to them because of the union they have with Jesus by faith. The righteousness which Christ possessed becomes theirs so that they, the unrighteous, partake in the righteous rendering of the resurrection of Christ.

Christ’s death procured for us the justifying righteousness of God (5:9).[10] We were under the just condemnation of the law of a holy God with no hope of justifying ourselves (Rom 3:19-20). In our stead, Christ offered himself as a propitiation of our sins. Christ, by His death on the cross, satisfied God’s holy demands (Rom 3:25). Christ was the holy one who perfectly fulfilled the laws demands and so offered Himself as the satisfaction in the sinners’ place (Rom 3:25, 5:18-19). However, on the third day true justice was established again. The Spirit vindicated the Righteous Son by raising Him from the dead (1 Tim 3:16). He was treated in the sinners’ place, but God did not let His Holy One see corruption (Ps. 16:10). God declared that indeed Jesus was just, that He was the Christ.

[1]There is debate on the usage of διὰ. It is used twice in the verse as the preposition to each phrase. There is nearly universal agreement that the first usage is causal meaning, “because of.” But such a usage is strange if understood in the clause we are looking at as pointed out by Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God, 76-77. Thus a “final” usage should be seen; he was raise “for our justification.” See Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 252; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 289; Robertson, Epistles of Paul, 354; Morna D. Hooker, “Raised for our Acquittal (Rom 4,25)” in Resurrection in the New Testament, ed. R. Bieringer, V. Koperski, and B. Lataire (Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 2002), 323. Schreiner, Romans, 235, will say that the second usage of διὰ can be understood causally

[2]C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle to the Romans, The International Critical Commentary, ed. J. A. Emerton and C. E. B. Cranfield (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1975), 251. Also see Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 288, who makes the point that Paul “has fully integrated the elements of the tradition into his exposition.”

[3]W. Zimmerli and J. Jeremias, Servant of God (Naperville, Ill: Alec R. Allenson, 1957), 89.

[4]Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998), 235.

[5]“being ethnically Jewish is insufficient; one must follow Abraham’s faith. Conversely, Abraham is also the father of uncircumcised believers.” Mark A Seifrid, “Romans” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, eds. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 626.

[6]Schreiner, Romans, 235.

[7]Ibid., 236. See also Seifrid, “Romans,” 627.

[8]Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 250. See also Schreiner, Romans, 239.

[9]Seifrid, “Romans,” 627

[10]Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 310; Schreiner, Romans, 263.