Christ’s Resurrection and Our Justification (Hodge)

This verse in Romans has always stuck out to me: He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification (Rom. 4:25 NET). Or, as the NASB translates it, …He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

I appreciate Charles Hodge’s comments on these wonderful words of Paul:

This verse (Rom. 4:25) is a comprehensive statement of the gospel. Christ was delivered unto death for our offenses, i.e. on account of them, and for their expiation (cf. Isa. 53:5, 6, Heb. 9:28, 1 Peter 2:21). This delivering of Christ is ascribed to God (Rom. 8:32, Gal. 1:3, and elsewhere; and to himself, Tit. 2:14, Gal. 2:20). It was by the divine purpose and counsel he suffered for the expiation of sin; and he gave himself willingly to death. “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” Christ is said to have been delivered unto death, διἀ τὰ παραπτώματα ἡμῶν, and to have been raised [for our justification], διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν; that is, he was delivered in order that our sins might be expiated, and he was raised in order that we might be justified. His death and his resurrection were alike necessary; his death, as a satisfaction to divine justice. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. That is, he bore the punishment of our sins….

His resurrection was no less necessary, first, as a proof that his death had been accepted as in expiation for our sins. Had he not risen, it would have been evident that he was not what he claimed to be. We would be yet in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17), and therefore still under condemnation. Our ransom, in that case, instead of being publicly accepted, had been rejected. And secondly, in order to secure the continued application of the merits of his sacrifice, he rose from the dead, and ascended on high, there to appear before God for us. He stands at the right hand of God, ever to make intercession for his people, thereby securing for them the benefits of his redemption. With a dead Savior, a Savior over whom death had triumphed and held captive, our justification had been for ever impossible. As it was necessary that the high priest, under the old economy, should not only slay the victim at the altar, but carry the blood into the most holy place, and sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat; so it was necessary not only that our great High Priest should suffer in the outer court, but that he should pass into heaven, to present his righteousness before God for our justification. Both, therefore, as 1) the evidence of the acceptance of his satisfaction on our behalf, and 2) as a necessary step to secure the application of the merits of his sacrifice, the resurrection of Christ was absolutely essential, even for our justification.

Hodge, Charles, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, New Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Louis Kregel, 1882)

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015