D.A. Carson – Our Greatest Need

12 Nov

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put 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 had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Rom. 3:21-26

Some of us have a view of the gospel that makes Jesus out to be something like an automobile club repairman: Jesus is a nice man, he’s a very, very nice man, and when you break down, he comes along and fixes you. Yet what Paul depicts here is that the nature of our brokenness turns first and foremost on our offensiveness to God. It is the wrath of God that is disclosed from heaven. Paul is certainly not denying that there are many kinds of social parameters to sin; he is not overlooking the raw fact that sinners can also be victims. Perpetrators have very often been the abused. Sin is a social thing. We commit sin, and we affect others. On the other hand, if we think of ourselves only in terms of victimhood, then we need only a healer or repairer. If all the damage we do is exclusively horizontal, what we need most is social transformation. Of course, the Bible can picture God and his salvation in these sorts of categories. Yet in the Bible the most fundamental category of all to which the biblical writers resort in order to portray the nature of the problem is our offensiveness before God. It follows that what is needed first and foremost for us to be saved—for this situation to change—is to provide a means by which we may be reconciled to this God.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 42-43

Books by D.A. Carson

Kindle Books

Other D.A. Carson Quotes

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