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,
to demonstrate [prove] His righteousness [judicial righteousness],
God demonstrates His righteous consistency with Himself by sacrificing Jesus’ life for our sins. He must be just with Himself; therefore, God must take the action. God takes action on our behalf and demonstrates His righteousness in this way. It proves that God is just in His dealings. God is more than loving, He is also righteous and just. The death of Christ for our sins fully placates God’s wrath against sin.
Justice and forgiveness of sins appear to be in conflict. God resolves this conflict in this passage. It was necessary to publically vindicate God’s justice because He forgave sin in Christ’s work. Satisfaction of God’s justice was the objective of Christ’s death.
God will demonstrate two dimensions of His justice:
1. To avoid the charge against His character that He offers inconsistent justice to sinners (v.25)
2. To reveal His absolutely righteous character by being both just and the One who provides justification—the justifier (v.26)
God vindicated His mercy by demonstrating that sins symbolically dealt with by Old Testament sacrifices are now permanently paid for by the death of Christ. God demanded from Himself something that would resolve His absolute righteousness, then He met it by Himself by providing Christ as a sacrifice for our sins.
The cross as propitiation demonstrates how just or right God is. This refers to God’s righteous character.
God is both the subject and the object of what He does.
God will always punish sins, but it is just a matter of how He does it. He can do it by sending people to hell or He can do it by sending Jesus to pay the price for sin.
In God’s work He is both the subject and the object of what He does. That is, He is the standard and He meets the standard. God’s standard is His own absolute righteousness and He meets that righteousness in the death of Christ. He presents the claim and satisfies the claim. He meets His displeasure with sin by the cross. He demands a sacrifice and gives the sacrifice.