Chrysostom on Substitutionary Atonement (III)

John Chrysostom  (c. 347–407)

sacrificial-lambRom 3:24-28 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (26) to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

(Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans, from Homily VII)

“whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed”

. . . . See by how many proofs he makes good what was said. First, from the worthiness of the person, for it is not a man who doeth these things, that He should be too weak for it, but God all-powerful. For it is to God, he says, that the righteousness belongs. Again, Second, from the Law and the Prophets. For you need not be afraid at hearing the “without the Law,” inasmuch as the Law itself approves this. Thirdly, from the sacrifices under the old dispensation. For it was on this ground that he said, “In His blood,” to call to their minds those sheep and calves. For if the sacrifices of things without reason, he means, cleared from sin, much more would this blood. And he does not say barely λυτρώσεως, but ἀπολυτρώσεως, entire redemption, to show that we should come no more into such slavery. And for this same reason he calls it a propitiation, to show that if the type had such force, much more would the reality display the same. But to show again that it was no novel thing or recent, he says, “fore-ordained”; and by saying God “fore-ordained,” and showing that the good deed is the Father’s, he shows it to be the Son’s also. For the Father “fore-ordained,” but Christ in His own blood wrought the whole aright.

“To declare His righteousness.”  What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores (κατασαπέντας) of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is “declaring,” that he has added, “That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to all men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declares (ἐνδείκνυται) Himself to do so, and He, so to say, finds a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glories in?”

see also :

http://www.orthodox-christianity.com/2013/04/chrysostom-on-substitutionary-atonement-ii/

http://www.orthodox-christianity.com/2013/03/chrysostom-on-substitutionary-atonement/

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