The Romans text is about as dense as biblical texts get. Working through it, I’ve found the following useful. Verse 21: New Jerusalem Bible’s “saving justice” for dikaiosunē (NRSV “righteousness”) is helpful (see June 16 post). V. 22: Common English Bible’s “through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ” is probably better than NRSV’s “through faith in Jesus Christ” (redundant). V. 23 “and fall short of the glory of God” probably a reference back to 1:23 (the problem to be solved). V.24 “justified” paraphrased by Wright: “declared to be in the right, to be members of the covenant.” V.24 “redemption,” recalling “under the power of sin” (v.9). V.25 “a sacrifice of atonement by his blood,” probably an allusion to Isaiah’s fourth “Servant Song.”
In the Eucharist the celebrant prays:
- “a perfect sacrifice for the whole world” (Prayer A)
- “In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us…out of sin into righteousness” (Prayer B)
- “we who have been redeemed by him” (Prayer C)
- “To fulfill your purpose he gave himself up to death” (Prayer D)
How does the celebrant know this? Texts like today’s Romans text: not explanations, but witnesses.