Origen on Justification by Christ through Faith

Origen of Alexandria (185-232) [Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans]

Origen“For at the end of the age, in the most recent times, God has manifested his righteousness and given Christ to be our redemption. He has made him our propitiator. If he had sent him as the propitiator at some earlier time, there would have been fewer people whose sins needed propitiating than there are now. For God is just, and therefore he could not justify the unjust. Therefore he required the intervention of a propitiator, so that by having faith in him those who could not be justified by their own works might be justified

“Although the holy apostle teaches many wonderful things about our Lord Jesus Christ which are said mysteriously about him, in this passage (Rom. 3:25) he has given special prominence to something which, I think, is not readily found in other parts of Scripture. For having just said that Christ gave himself as a redemption for the entire human race so that he might ransom those who were held captive by sin…. now he adds something even more sublime, saying that God put him forward , as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.’ This means that by the sacrifice of Christ’s body God has made propitiation on behalf of men and by this has shown his righteousness, in that he forgave their previous sins, which they had committed in the service of the worst possible tyrants. God endured this and allowed these things to happen”

“Neither our faith without Christ’s blood nor Christ’s blood without our faith can justify us. Yet of either of these Christ’s blood justifies us much more than our faith. That is why having said above that we are justified by faith, Paul now says that we are justified by his blood `much more’ (Romans 5:9)”

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