In part one of this series on the atonement I emphasized the importance of a correct definition of the atonement. We saw that the primary meaning of the Hebrew word kippur is expiation or the removal of sin by a substitutionary sacrifice, rather than at-one-ment which is the literal meaning of our English word atonement. Our word atonement better describes the reconciliation which resulted from Christ’s once-and-for all sacrifice, rather than the expiation itself. This improper rendering of kippur has facilitated the denial of Christ’s Penal Substitutionary Atonement by its opponents.
In part two we saw that the Early Church Fathers uniformly described the sin-bearing Servant of Isaiah 53 as bearing in Himself the just penalty due to us for our sins as our substitute. In part three I demonstrated that the terminology employed throughout Isaiah 53 is that of penal substitution.
Here I will be addressing the claim made by some that God’s justice is not in any way forensic or legal in nature but purely relational, and that He can therefore simply forego justice without any need to satisfy His justice through Christ’s substitutionary atoning sacrifice. While surely relationships are of utmost importance to God, one cannot have communion with God who is perfect in justice to the subversion of justice.
In Scripture we see that God is immutable in His justice and truth. Just as it is impossible for God to lie, even so it is impossible for God to go counter to His own justice. Righteousness and justice are said to be the very foundation of His throne, and He has said that He will by no means acquit the guilty or leave them unpunished (Ps 97:2; Num 14:18; Pro 11:21; Ex 34:7). This creates a conundrum which has no solution apart from the gospel truth that, in love, God Himself, in the person of Christ, bore the just penalty due to us for our sins.
Keith Giles, who opposes Christ’s Penal Substitutionary Atonement in favor of a social justice gospel based upon a Moral Example model of the atonement, repeatedly insists that we must go to the four gospels if we want to understand what the gospel entails. However, what He fails to consider is that the gospel before the cross could not have included the atonement, except by way of anticipation. It wasn’t until the close of His ministry that Jesus actually made atonement by shedding His own blood on the cross for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28). The full revelation of the gospel of Christ’s atoning death, burial and resurrection is primarily given to us through Paul (Eph 3:2-6; Rom 16:25-26). And in no other epistle is it more clearly set forth than in the epistle to the Romans.
Romans contains the clearest comprehensive and systematic presentation of the gospel that can be found in the New Testament. Martin Luther said of Romans that it is “The chief part of the New Testament and the purest gospel.” William Tyndale, who was the first to translate the Bible into English, called Romans “The light and way into the whole of Scripture.”
Romans 1 thru 8 constitutes the chief doctrinal portion of the epistle. In 1:16-17 Paul states in a nutshell that which he develops throughout the epistle: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” I think that the Revised Standard Version renders well what Paul was saying in the final phrase. It reads:
“He who through faith is righteous shall live (Ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται).” In other words, the justification that makes alive is that which is received by faith, not the justification that one vainly seeks after that is based upon works.
In these chapters the full-orbed gospel is progressively unveiled in four stages: 1) condemnation, 1:18 thru 3:20; 2) justification, 3:21 thru 5; 3) sanctification, 6:1 thru 8:17, and finally 4) glorification, 8:18-25. Then in 8:31 to the end of chapter 8 he summarizes describing the practical outcome of these four truths beginning with, “What then shall we say to these things?...”
Since Paul begins by demonstrating that all stand guilty and condemned before God prior to introducing the gospel of God’s free justification as a gracious gift through the redemption that is in Christ, he makes abundant use of forensic or legal motifs, especially in the first five chapters. In the first three chapters he sounds a lot like a prosecuting attorney presenting all, both religious Jews and pagan Gentiles, as guilty before the divine court of law and worthy of the death penalty.
I remember well the first time I read Romans as a new believer. Since I didn’t understand what Paul was leading up to, by the time I got to chapter 3 verse 20 I felt guilty as charged and was questioning whether or not there was any hope for me. I can’t describe the joy and peace that flooded my soul when I continued on to the next verses which said:
“BUT NOW the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:21-24)
In the first three chapters Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, convicts us of our sin and guilt so that we will look to the Lord for His mercy and pardon. He shows us that we are all under condemnation so that we will gladly receive God’s free gift of justification in Christ. Paul later summarizes in Romans 11:32 saying: “For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.”
Paul first establishes the reality that all are disobedient and in need of God’s mercy. No one seeks His mercy until they are first made aware of their guilt and need of mercy. No one will look to Him for justification unless they are first made aware that they stand condemned before God. No one seeks to be saved until they become aware that they are lost and in need of the Savior.
Eventually all will have become convinced of their own disobedience and guilt and will look to the Lord for salvation. Eventually every knee will have bowed, and every tongue confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. Some, just like the self-righteous Pharisees or the liberal Sadducees, will be among the last to acknowledge their own sin and guilt, looking to God for His mercy (Matt 21:31). But as Paul indicates in Romans 11:32, eventually all will have acknowledged their own disobedience, looking to the Lord for mercy.
The opponents of the doctrine of Christ’s Penal Substitution often deny that God’s justice is in any way punitive or retributive, in spite of the many direct statements in Scripture to the contrary (Rom 12:19; 13:4; 2Thess 1:8; Heb 10:30, etc.). Brian Zahnd, for example, denies any form of retributive justice in God, saying: “The only thing God will call justice is setting the world right.”  As with many of their statements, that is a half-truth. The Scriptures agree with what he affirms but not what he denies. While it is true that God’s justice will ultimately set the world right, it is not true that God’s justice is never retributive. I demonstrate both the retributive and restorative nature of God’s justice in my article, The Justice of God.
Perhaps nowhere in Scripture is God’s retributive justice presented more clearly in judicial terms than in Romans. Just to help put into perspective how much the legal, forensic element pervades throughout Paul’s epistle to the Romans, I formulated the following list of words used by Paul in Romans having forensic or judicial connotations.
The Greek word for “judicial” is dikastikós. Its numerous cognates like dikaiosúne “justice,” dikaioma “just judgment” and dikaiosis “justification or acquittal” are used 66 times in Romans, one of which is hupódikos which means “under sentence, guilty, condemned.” The phrase “the judgment of God” (krima tou theou) occurs 4 times, with the word “judgment” (krima) and its cognates appearing 31 times, 7 of which are katákrima and katakríno which mean “condemnation or adverse judgment.” The word orgé, or “wrath” is used 12 times, 10 of which refer to the wrath of God. According to Kittel’s 10 volume lexicon, the word orgé was often used to refer to the “legitimate attitude of the ruler who has to avenge injustice, and carries the meaning of “punishment,” just as we see it used here in Romans. 
In addition to these words, we also see other forensic terminology being employed by Paul, such as egkaléo katá, which is a forensic term meaning “to criminate, to bring a charge against.” Also, we see logízomai, which means “to impute or account as,” being used 13 times in reference to Christ’s righteousness which is imputed to those who believe. If that were not enough, the word “law” (nómos) occurs a total of 74 times in Romans, and parábasis and its cognates which mean “transgression or violation of the law” are used 14 times. All together forensic and transactional terms occur a total of 233 times in Romans! In the light of all this, to me it seems unreasonable for anyone to claim that Penal Substitution is not taught in Scripture and that it was merely the invention of Calvin’s legal mind. No other religion in the world is as firmly based upon law and justice as is the Judeo-Christian faith.
The following is a list of the forensic terms used in Romans along with textual references to the most relevant passages.
dikaiosúne – justice, righteousness (34 times, the phrase δικαιοσυνη θεου “righteousness of God” occurs 6 times (Rom 1:17; 3:5,21,22; 10:3,3b)
dikaiokrisía – just sentence, righteous judgment (Rom 2:5)
dikaioma – just judgment, just ordinance or requirement, just act, justification (5 times: Rom 1:32; 2:26; 5:16,18; 8:4)
dikaióo – to justify (16 times, 14 times referring to God justifying man (Rom 3:20,24,26,28,30; 4:2,5; 5:1,9; 6:7; 8:30,30b; 8:33)
dikaíosis – justification, acquittal (2 times: Rom 4:25; 5:18)
hupódikos – guilty, condemned, subject to sentence (Rom 3:19)
ekdíkesis – full execution of justice, vengeance (Rom 12:19)
adikía– injustice, unrighteousness (7 times: Rom 1:18,18b,29; 2:8; 3:5; 6:13; 9:14)
ádikos – unjust (Rom 3:5)
kríno – to judge (18 times, 4 times referring to God judging according to His law: Rom 2:12; 3:4,6,7)
kríma – judgment (6 times: Rom 2:2,3; 3:8; 5:16; 11:33; 13:2)
katákrima – judgment against, condemnation (3 times: Rom 5:16,18; 8:1)
katakríno – to condemn (4 times, 2 referring to the condemnation of God: (Rom 8:3,34)
eglaléo katá – to criminate, to bring a charge against (Rom 8:33)
orgé – wrath (12 times: (Rom 1:18; 2:5,5b,8; 3:5; 4:15; 5:9; 9:22,22b; 12:19; 13:4,5)
thumós – passionate anger, wrath, indignation (Rom 2:8)
anapológetos – without a defense or justification (2 times: Rom 1:20; 2:1)
nómos – law (74 times Rom 2:12,13)
anómos – lawless, without law (2 times: Rom 2:12,12b)
parabátes – transgressor, law-breaker (2 times: Rom 2:25,27)
parábasis – transgression, violation of the law (3 times: Rom 2:23; 4:15; 5:14)
paráptoma – transgression, offense - antithesis to justification (9 times: Rom 4:25; 5:15,15b,16,17,18,20; 11:11,12)
logízomai – account as, impute (18 times, 12 times in reference to imputed righteousness: Rom 4:3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,22,23,24; 6:11)
Examining the key passages where these words appear makes the forensic nature of the atonement even more evident. For brevity I will only be focusing on a few.
Declared Guilty (Rom 3:19)
Paul spends the better part of the first three chapters establishing that all, both Jew and Gentile alike, stand guilty and condemned under God’s law. He shows that the Gentiles, although not having the law, will be judged by the same standard, since they have the law written in their hearts, their conscience approving or accusing them, leaving them without excuse (Rom 2:14-15; 1:20). He says that the Gentiles intuitively know that those who practice sin “deserve to die,” but they suppress the truth in their own unrighteousness (Rom 1:32,18).
Then in 3:19-20 he makes his closing statement in which he presents the whole world as being guilty and condemned before God with no possibility of being justified by their own works:
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty (hupódikos) before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified (dikaióo) in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom 3:19-20)
Paul says that all of humanity stands guilty or condemned (hupódikos) before God. When judgment day comes, no one will be justified or declared righteous (dikaióo) in His sight for having kept the law. These are clearly forensic terms: guilty is antonymous with not guilty – to not be justified in His sight is to be condemned (c.f. Jn 3:18).
Declared Just – Justified by Grace apart from Works (Rom 3:21-24)
Immediately after showing that the whole world stood guilty and condemned before God without any possibility of self-justification, Paul unveils a righteousness that comes from God as a free gift of grace to all who believe/receive. He continues saying:
“BUT NOW a righteousness from God (dikaiosúne theoú), apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God (dikaiosúne theoú) comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified (dikaióo) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:21-24 NIV ©1973)
I here quote from the NIV since I believe that it properly renders dikaiosúne theoú here as “a righteousness from God,” rather than “the righteousness of God.” In this context, it isn’t referring to God’s moral attribute of righteousness, but rather a righteousness which comes from God as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ. The word “righteousness” appears here in the anarthrous without the article (a righteousness), and, considering the context, it should be understood as a genitive of source, “from God,” rather than a possessive genitive “of God.” Of the 7 times that this phrase appears in the New Testament, 5 refer to a righteousness from God, the righteousness of Christ which is imputed or put to the account of (logízomai) those who believe (Rom 1:17; 3:21; 3:22; 10:3,3b). Other translations, such as the Tyndale Bible of 1526 and the Weymouth Bible (1903) also render it as a genitive of source. Since the primary focus of Romans is upon Christ’s righteousness which is imputed to those who believe, the only instance where “the righteousness of God” refers to God’s moral attribute is in Romans 3:5 where Paul is still contrasting our unrighteousness with God’s righteousness.
Explanation of how God can justly justify the Unjust (Rom 3:24-26
Especially for a Jew familiar with God’s law, but also for anyone living within the Roman Empire, being one of the most law-based societies in history, Paul’s original readers would have wanted an explanation as to how God could be just, while at the same time justifying the unjust. Right after declaring that the righteousness of God comes to sinners apart from the law through faith, he follows up with an explanation as to how free justification was made possible for sinners. He says:
“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption (apolútrosis) that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth (protíthemai, ‘publicly displayed’) as a propitiation (hilastérion) 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.” (Rom 3:24-26)
Paul explains that God is able to justify us through, or by means of, Christ’s redemption. The word apolútrosis, “redemption,” is a strengthened form of lútrosis which means “to set free by paying a ransom price.”  Our bondage was to sin and its penalty, death (Rom 6:22-23). Redemption includes “the forgiveness of sins,” the “redemption from transgressions” (Eph 1:7; Heb 9:14-15). Christ became a curse for us in order to redeem us (exagorázo)  from the curse of the law under which we were bound because of our transgressions against it (Gal 3:13-14).
There is much debate as to whom the ransom price was paid. However, to me, the Scriptures clearly indicate that the ransom was made to God Himself. Christ offered Himself up “to God...for the redemption from transgressions” (Heb 9:14-15). It was into the heavenly Most Holy Place that Christ entered with His own blood, thereby obtaining redemption for us (Heb 9:12). Yet, while Christ’s redeeming blood was presented to God as the redemptive price for our sins, we also see that God at the same time purchased us for Himself with that same blood sacrifice (1Cor 6:20).
How could the redemption price have been paid to God at the same time that it was God who purchased us for Himself? It was against God’s own immutable justice that we had transgressed. The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). It was through our disobedience that we came under the dominion of sin and death. In order for us to be free from sin’s penalty and dominion, God’s justice first had to be satisfied. Since the penalty for sin was death and all have sinned, man was unable to reverse his own condition. But God became flesh in the person of the Son and shed His own innocent blood as our substitute and representative Head, thereby obtaining eternal redemption for us and reversing the curse brought upon us due to Adam’s transgression (Rom 5:15-19). As our representative Head and Kinsman Redeemer, Christ paid the just penalty which God’s immutable justice required for our sins and transgressions, while at the same time purchasing us with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
Set forth as a propitiation by His blood
Verses 25-26 make it even more evident that Christ’s redemptive blood was presented to God Himself as the satisfactory redemptive price for our sins, thereby making it possible for God to be just and justify the unjust who place faith in Christ. Paul says that Christ’s blood shed upon the cross was “set forth” or “publicly displayed” (protíthemai) as the expiatorial sacrifice for sins (hilastérion) which satisfied His justice, thereby demonstrating that He did not simply forego justice, overlooking sin when He left sin unpunished before the cross. Additionally, Paul says that Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice demonstrates that at the present time God is just when He justifies those who put their faith in Jesus - that He doesn’t simply set aside justice when He justifies sinners.
In the first article in this series, Defining Atonement, I demonstrated that the word “propitiation” (hilasmós) and its cognates are used throughout the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament (LXX) as the equivalent of the Hebrew word for “expiation” (kippur) in which blood sacrifices were offered to make expiation for the sins of the children of Israel. The cognate of hilasmós used here is hilastérion which was the word used in the LXX for the Hebrew kapporeth which was the propitiatorium or covering for the ark made of pure gold with two cherubim, often referred to in English as the mercy seat.
In order to understand why Jesus is said to have been publicly displayed as “a hilastérion by His blood,” it is essential that we understand the function of the hilastérion. It served to cover the ark and that which was contained within it (Ex 25:21; Heb 9:4). Each of the three things contained within the ark were representative of the sins of the people: 1) The two tablets of the covenant which they transgressed; 2) The golden urn containing the manna which Aaron was told to put in the ark when they complained to the Lord because they had no food (Ex 16:33), and 3) Aaron’s rod that budded which symbolized their rebellion against Aaron, God’s anointed representative (Nu 17:10).
Once a year on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement/Expiation, the High Priest sprinkled the blood of the expiatorial sacrifice upon the hilastérion or covering of the ark, making propitiation/expiation for the sins of the people for another year, thereby making it possible for the glory of the Lord to remain above the hilastérion between the two cherubim (Ex 25:22). When Paul says that Christ was publicly displayed as the hilastérion by His blood, hilastérion is being used as an adjective rather than a substantive. He was set forth as a propitiatory/expiatorial sacrifice, once-and-for-all taking away the sins of the world. 
Condemnation and Justification are Forensic Motifs
We have seen how the whole world stood before God guilty and condemned since all have sinned (Rom 3:19,23). This guilty verdict is not something unique to Paul. Jesus Himself said: “he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn 3:18). Paul explains in Romans 5 that all of us, being under the federal headship of Adam, were condemned by his one act of disobedience (Rom 5:16).
Condemnation does not consist in making someone guilty, but in declaring them guilty. In the same manner, justification does not consist of making someone righteous, as in behavior modification, but forensic, declaring someone just. Justification is a once-and-for-all acquittal, not a process. It is a positional righteousness and distinct from sanctification or practical righteousness. Note the tense of the verbs:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith (aorist passive), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... 9 Much more then, having now been justified (aorist passive) by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Rom 5:1,9)
Even as condemnation came to all through Adam’s one offense, resulting in condemnation, so also Christ’s one act of obedience as our representative Head, resulted in justification for all, to be received (not achieved) by faith. The moment we believe we are justified. As Paul points out, Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him (logízomai) for righteousness (Rom 4:3). As indicated above, the word logízomai is used 12 times in Romans referring to imputed righteousness (Rom 4:3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,22,23,24; 6:11).
In spite of the fact that Paul so repeatedly and emphatically states that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those who simply receive it by faith, the opponents of Penal Substitution aggressively resist the truth of imputed righteousness and often even mock it. George MacDonald, who would reduce Christ’s atoning death to nothing more than a moral example, says the following concerning the belief that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those who believe:
“The apostle says that a certain thing was imputed to Abraham for righteousness. What was it that was thus imputed to Abraham? The righteousness of another? God forbid!.. To impute the righteousness of one to another, is simply to act a falsehood...”  “This...the righteousness which is of God by faith – so far from being a thing built on the rubbish heap of legal fiction called vicarious sacrifice, or its shadow called imputed righteousness, that only the child with the child-heart...can understand it.” 
While George MacDonald is very verbose, making it very difficult to find a simple concise statement on any given issue, his contempt for the doctrine of imputed righteousness is unmistakable. To him, the glorious truth of Christ’s vicarious sacrifice for us in which our sins were imputed to Christ in order that His righteousness might be imputed to us, is rubbish. His denial of the inerrancy of Scripture emboldened him to exalt his own reason above divine revelation. Concerning the biblical truth that Christ’s vicarious death on our behalf was necessary in order to satisfy God’s justice he says: “You say he does, for the Bible says so. I say, if the Bible said so, the Bible would lie... Such an attitude towards the Holy Scriptures certainly does not reflect our Lord who said, “the Scriptures cannot be broken,” and “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (Jn 10:35; Mark 14:49).
I believe that today Jesus would say to those who deny the efficacy of His vicarious sacrifice the same thing that He once said to the Sadducees: “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mark 12:24). Those who oppose the gospel truth of Christ’s righteousness being imputed to us by grace through faith fall into the same error as the unbelieving Jews that Paul referred to in Romans 10. He said of them:
“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” (Rom 10:2-3 NIV)
As much as the opponents of Penal Substitution may be opposed to it, the forensic and transactional concept of imputed righteousness through faith is central to the gospel. Justification includes forgiveness, but it is more than forgiveness. It is an acquittal, yet it is much more than just an acquittal. It is nothing less than the imputation of the merits of Christ to our account. In Christ, we are not simply regarded as if we were righteous, we actually are the righteousness of God in Him.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21)
Christ became legally guilty on our behalf, that we might become legally righteous or just in Him. We are now the righteousness of God in Christ! The opponents of Penal Substitution refer to this disparagingly as transactional justice, but the Apostolic Fathers referred to as “the sweet exchange.”  Paul says that “having been justified (passive aorist) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom 5:1-2). Justification is a standing we have received, not a process to be achieved. “That having been justified (passive aorist) by His grace we should become heirs” (Tito 3:7). It is of God’s doing that we are in Christ who has become unto us righteousness (1Cor 1:30). We are “accepted (charitáo, lit. ‘graced, highly favored’) in the beloved” (Ef 1:6).
In conclusion, while few would deny that God loves us and desires relationship above all else, the Scriptures reveal to us that, apart from Christ’s vicarious sacrifice, redeeming us from our sins and iniquities, such a relationship would have never been possible, being that God is also perfectly just and the Judge of the living and the dead. And while the specific Greek word for “forensic” (δικανικός) doesn’t appear in Romans, its cognates appear 66 times, along with a multitude of other forensic terms.
It is precisely because of His great love for us that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1Jn 4:10). While it is the subject of the next blog, God sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins is certainly a much greater demonstration of His love than that of the Moral Example Theory of the atonement. According to that theory, God sent His beloved Son to be mocked, scourged and nailed to a cross to die a cruel death for the sole purpose of showing us how loving He is! Instead of His precious blood having redeemed us from our sins and transgressions (Eph 1:7; Heb 9:14-15), they deny that Christ’s blood has any value beyond showing us how much He loves us. Denying that Christ’s blood purchased our redemption is what Peter calls “a destructive heresy” (2Peter 2:1-2).
In the next blog I will be considering how the other theories or models of the atonement are complementary to Christ’s Penal Substitutionary Atonement. However, apart from Christ having shed His blood for the propitiation of our sins there couldn’t have been any atonement or reconciliation.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins... 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Col 1:13-14,20)
 Zahnd, Brian. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God (p. 86).
 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Copyright © 1972-1989 By Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., NT:3709
“In secular literature orge takes on the sense of anger as the most striking manifestation of powerful inner passion, thumos. ‘orge…becomes in the political life of the following period the characteristic and legitimate attitude of the ruler who has to avenge injustice.’ ‘orge relates, not to the verdict (Aristot. Rhet., I, 1, p. 1354 a, 16 ff.) but only to the sentence. In virtue of this orge itself acquired the meaning of ‘punishment.’ Apart from the moral wrath which protects against evil and which is sometimes expressly called dikaia orge (righteous indignation) (Demosth. Or., 16, 19; Dio C., 40, 51, 2; Ditt. Syll.3, 780, 22), orge in Gk. came under a predominantly negative judgment.
 The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament NT:629: “apolutrosis; gen. apolutroseos, fem. noun from apolutrao, ‘to let go free for a ransom,’ which is from apó (575), from, and lutrao (3084), to redeem. Redemption. The recalling of captives (sinners) from captivity (sin) through the payment of a ransom for them, i.e., Christ's death. Sin is presented as slavery and sinners as slaves (John 8:34; Rom 6:17,20; 2 Peter 2:19). Deliverance from sin is freedom (John 8:33,36; Rom 8:21; Gal 5:1).
 Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, NT:1805: exagorazo, a strengthened form of agorazo, "to buy,” denotes "to buy out" (ex for ek), especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom. It is used metaphorically in Gal 3:13 and 4:5, of the deliverance by Christ of Christian Jews from the Law and its curse.
 See Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, commenting on Romans 3:25
 MacDonald, George . Unspoken Sermons Series I, II, and III (p. 216). Start Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition.
 Ibid p. 219
 Ibid p. 188
 Mathetes, The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapter 9
“He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous... For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! That the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!”