Adam writes in to ask: “Pastor John, recently at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I heard you say on stage that Romans 3:25 is the most important verse in the Bible. Why is that?”
Well, I am glad he picked up on it, because I did say that. And actually what I said was: It might not be, but if somebody put a gun to my head and made me choose, this is the verse I would choose. And here is my reason. Well, let me read the verse first, because not everybody w ill know what it is. Romans 3:25 says: God put Christ forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he passed over former sins.
I think that is the most important verse in the Bible. Now what in the world? Why would I say that? Because it describes the two most amazing remedies for the two most horrific problems of mankind in the universe. So if you do a survey: What is the biggest problem of mankind? Very few people would say: The wrath of God. But it is. The wrath of God is the greatest problem. And now here in this verse you have got piece upon piece upon piece piled up as God deals with this problem. So you have God. You have got Christ. You have got put forward. That is the incarnation. You have got by blood. That is the atonement. You have got propitiation. That is the heart of what happens in the atonement as God’s wrath is removed and absorbed. You have got for faith which is the best news in all the world, because it is not works. You have got vindicating God’s righteousness, which means the just demand that he show wrath has been dealt with and you have got because of passing over sins, which means the final wonder is he doesn't hold our sins against us. I mean, I don’t know any verse that packs as many glorious things into itself in dealing with the two worst problems.
So let me just underline. Problem number one in the universe is God’s wrath is on all human begins unto eternal damnation, John 3:36. If we don’t believe in Jesus we remain, we remain, that is forever, if we don’t believe we remain under the wrath of God. Or, Romans 3:5 where anger and fury are warranting God’s wrath. He, God is righteous to inflict wrath on us. So those are the two things. God’s wrath and his righteousness demands wrath. It is not just that God is angry. I mean, he could be some kind of flippant tyrant. That is not the case. He is absolutely just and righteous in the wrath that he has against us. So those are there in this verse behind the word propitiation.
Now the remedies are: he shed his blood, that is Christ shed his blood and by shedding his blood he propitiates the wrath of God. So the flame thrower of God’s omnipotent... I mean you just need to ponder this. Omnipotent fury, the flame thrower of God’s omnipotent fury is... the trigger is about to be pulled and as it is pulled, Christ steps between us and the flame thrower and he absorbs every bit of it on himself and he dies, because of it and we don’t feel that heat at all. We are freed from it. So the greatest problem in the universe is solved in this verse and spoken in this verse.
Piper: “The trigger on the flame thrower of God’s omnipotent fury is about to be pulled and Christ steps between us and the flame.” dsr.gd/apj-272
And the second one is that God is righteous to show wrath and so how can he not? And the answer is: He doesn’t sweep sin under the rug. He deals with it in his Son and therefore Jesus vindicates the righteousness of God. So he doesn’t just remove the wrath of God. He vindicates the righteousness of God. I don’t know any verse in the Bible, besides this one, that says that at least so clearly. And those are the two massive obstacles that have to be dealt with.
And then, gloriously, it says: To be received by faith. So I don’t have to work for this. I don’t have to perform for this. I watch God perform salvation from God, because he loves me and I simply welcome it. I receive that. And that honors him as a covenant keeping God.
So on and on we could go in this verse, but there is the essence of it. The two biggest problems in the universe are solved with the two biggest remedies. And then it is just handed to us freely by faith.
Excellent. Well said, Pastor John. …. Thank you for listening to this podcast. You and thousands of other listeners tune into this podcast every week—we are humbled by that, so thank you. It’s our joy to produce and distribute this podcast free of charge. If you’ve found this to be a helpful resource for your Christian growth, we encourage you to consider telling others about this resource, and we’d like to encourage you to consider a financial gift to Desiring God so that we can continue this free outreach ministry to others — bringing God’s word to bear on the most common and most significant concerns of our lives. You may give online at desiringGod.org—look for the button that says “donate” on the top of the homepage. Thank you for your financial support. And speaking of significant life-concerns, tomorrow we’re back with a very important and serious question from our listeners: Is an addiction to pornography an unpardonable sin, is it unforgivable? I look forward to Pastor John’s thoughts on that tomorrow. Until then, I’m your host Tony Reinke, thanks for listening — and thanks for partnering with us.