(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 11/4/01 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 1, verses 16 and 17:
Romans 1: (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to everyone believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek; (17) for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, "But the just shall live by faith."
In this sentence, Paul sets forth the gospel's POWER and the gospel's REVELATION. We went over this in a previous sermon in this series, but we need to go over it again briefly at this point, because it shows the beginning of the progression of Paul's logic that culminates at the end of Romans 3 and the entirety of Romans 4.
First, the gospel is the "power of God to salvation." This means that God has chosen to display His power to save His people through His gospel. It means that there is NO SALVATION apart from the gospel. SALVATION and THE GOSPEL are INSEPARABLY CONNECTED. There is not a single person who is SAVED who does not understand and believe THE GOSPEL. When God regenerates a person, an immediate and inevitable fruit of that regeneration is belief of the gospel. There's NO SUCH THING as someone being regenerated and remaining ignorant of the gospel for a period of time. There's NO SUCH THING as someone being regenerated in a place where there's no true gospel. Romans 10:13 and 14 says:
Romans 10: (13) For everyone, "whoever may call on the name of [the] Lord will be saved." (14) How then may they call on [One] into whom they have not believed? And how may they believe [One] of whom they have not heard? And how may they hear without preaching?
Do you see Paul's logical progression? Whoever calls on the name of the Lord -- will be saved. But if they do not BELIEVE the Lord, they cannot CALL on him. And if they have never HEARD of the Lord, they cannot BELIEVE the Lord. And if the gospel has never been PREACHED to them, they have never HEARD the gospel. Now to make it even more plain, let's go the opposite direction. If the gospel is not PREACHED, then the gospel cannot be HEARD, then the gospel cannot be BELIEVED. No one BELIEVES what he's never heard about. Yet only those who BELIEVE are the ones who are saved. So again we see that SALVATION and BELIEF OF THE GOSPEL cannot be separated. All who BELIEVE are saved, and all who DO NOT BELIEVE are lost. It is very simple. It's simple enough for even a child to understand.
So do you see how important the gospel is? If you do not believe the GOSPEL, then you are yet dead in your sins. If you DO believe the GOSPEL, then you are one of God's people. Well, if the GOSPEL is THAT important, we'd better know exactly what the gospel is. For being ignorant of the gospel means being ignorant of the only ground of salvation, which means going about to establish your own righteousness, as Romans 10:3 says.
So what is the gospel? Professing Christians have debated this time and time again. Yet Paul puts it forth SO CLEARLY that only those who are blind to the truth do not know what the gospel is. Verse 17 says, "for in it [that is, THE GOSPEL] the righteousness of God is revealed." Okay. So we see that the gospel is a REVELATION of the righteousness of God. If anyone wants to define the GOSPEL, we must first start with the righteousness of God. If you start anywhere else, you will go astray. Many of the lost religionists who go round and round about the gospel do not even MENTION the righteousness of God. They do not see that this is where one must start, and everything flows from there.
But what exactly IS the righteousness of God? Now we see Paul's logical progression from Romans 1:18 through where we are in Romans 3. Before defining the righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel, he preaches the doctrine of TOTAL DEPRAVITY. He shows that all men by nature, whether they are Jew or Gentile, are UNrighteous. This is what we've been going over in the past twelve sermons. We saw the perfect holiness of God. We saw that God will not fellowship with ANYONE who is not perfectly righteous. In fact, God only shows WRATH to those who are not perfectly righteous. We saw that perfect righteousness means PERFECT OBEDIENCE to God's Law. So only those with PERFECT OBEDIENCE to God's Law are declared righteous, or JUSTIFIED. We saw that the Gentiles, who are without the Law, could not produce such a righteousness. They are Law-breakers, and all Law-breakers are under God's holy wrath. We also saw that the Jews, who had the oracles of God, His holy Law, and His ordinances, could not produce such a righteousness. They, too, are Law-breakers, and all Law-breakers are under God's holy wrath. The Jews and Gentiles are equal in the eyes of God's law and justice. There is no respecter of persons with God. The whole world by nature is totally depraved. The immoral perverts are totally depraved, and the zealous, dedicated, moral self-righteous religionists are totally depraved. There is none righteous, not one. There is none that understands, there is not one that seeks after God. There is no fear of God before their eyes. NO ONE can produce the perfect righteousness that God requires. By works of law, NOT ONE of ALL FLESH will be justified before God. Paul made it very clear that there IS NO HOPE OF SALVATION in one's self. There is only depravity, unrighteousness.
Paul takes all this time to establish total depravity BEFORE defining the righteousness of God. Do you see why he did that? He didn't just go right ahead and define the righteousness of God after he said that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God. He took great pains to show the TOTAL, UTTER UNRIGHTEOUSNESS of EVERY SINGLE PERSON by nature and God's JUST WRATH and PUNISHMENT on the unrighteous. It TOTALLY TAKES AWAY the argument that salvation is part God's work and part man's work. Paul TOTALLY ELIMINATED man's work from the salvation equation. And only then, after he had taken man's works COMPLETELY OUT of the picture, does he define the righteousness of God.
Let's read Romans 3, verse 20 through Romans 4, verse 7:
Romans 3: (20) Because by works of Law not one of all flesh will be justified before Him, for through Law [is] full knowledge of sin. (21) But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (22) even the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ toward all and upon all those believing; for there is no difference, (23) for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God set forth [as] a propitiation through faith in His blood, as a demonstration of His righteousness through the passing over of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God, (26) for a demonstration of His righteousness in the present time, for His being just and justifying the [one] that [is] of the faith of Jesus. (27) Then where [is] the boasting? It was excluded. Through what law? Of works? No, but through a Law of faith. (28) Then we conclude a man to be justified by faith without works of Law. (29) Or [is He] the God of Jews only, and not also of the nations? Yes, of the nations also, (30) since [it is] one God who will justify circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. (31) Then [is] the Law annulled through faith? Let it not be! But we establish Law. (4:1) What then shall we say our father Abraham to have found according to flesh? (2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has a boast, but not with God. (3) For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." (4) Now [to one] working, the reward is not counted according to grace, but according to debt. (5) But to the [one] not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (6) Even as also David says of the blessedness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: (7) "Blessed [are those] whose lawlessnesses are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
Let's go back to verse 21. Look at the first two words that introduce this section: "BUT NOW." How precious those words are! Paul just got through slamming the whole world of Jews and Gentiles, bringing them in guilty before God. He said that there is no justification by any human effort. Then is everything hopeless? Is everyone going to be justly damned to hell? Certainly, if God were to judge everyone based on their own efforts, everyone would be justly, deservedly condemned to hell. "BUT NOW"!! These are the words of hope! These words introduce THE GOSPEL wherein the righteousness of God is revealed! Paul said back in the third paragraph of his letter to the Romans that IN THE GOSPEL, this gospel that is the POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION, the righteousness of God is revealed. And now we see it in all its magnificent splendor! Hope and love and grace and mercy stream from this passage!
Look at what the Holy Spirit through the apostle says: "But now, a RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD has been revealed APART FROM LAW"! Hear this, everyone within the sound of my voice! This righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel is TOTALLY APART from our efforts to keep the Law! And that's the only way it can be! Paul has very clearly shown up until now that if our acceptance before God had to do with our efforts, we would be REJECTED by God. David wrote to God in Psalm 130, "If You will keep iniquities, O Jehovah, O Lord, who shall stand?" If God would keep account of our law-breaking, who then would be accepted before God? NOT ONE. But, praise God, David then said, "But forgiveness is with You that You may be feared." There is FORGIVENESS with God! God is a merciful, gracious, compassionate God, LOVING to forgive iniquity! God is good and ready to forgive, and rich in mercy to all who call on Him, says David in Psalm 86:5.
But wait. How can God remain holy and just and righteous while forgiving law-breakers? We have seen over and over that God must PUNISH all law-breakers. He must show WRATH toward all law-breakers. God WILL NOT accept ANYONE based on their efforts, because all of their righteousnesses are as a menstruous cloth, a putrid thing in the sight of God. So does God put aside His demand for punishment, put aside and go against his holiness and his justice, when He forgives? Well, this cannot be, because if God did anything contrary to who He is, His attributes, He would cease to be God. So when God JUSTIFIES, He must remain JUST. As we see in Romans 3:26, the showing forth of the righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel shows God to be just and justifier. In Isaiah 45:21, God says that he is a JUST God and a SAVIOR. The answer to the question of how God can be both just and justifier, both a just God and a Savior, is in the gospel of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is ALL centered on Christ. When you preach Christ crucified, you preach the gospel. Jesus Christ's person and work are what it's all about. It is the ultimate way that God glorifies Himself. It is the theme of the whole Bible. It is the only answer. It is the only hope. I preach Christ crucified, which is an offense to the self-righteous religionists and foolishness to the worldly-wise. I don't come to you with great oratory skills or with worldly wisdom. I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and Him having been crucified. May it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the simple, pure, glorious gospel that is what we're here for. It is the gospel of Christ's PERSON -- the God-Man Mediator. It is the gospel of Christ's WORK -- His perfect life and His atoning bloody death that ensures the salvation of everyone whom He represented, that makes the only difference between salvation and damnation. THIS gospel reveals the righteousness of God, showing that God remains just in saving sinners. THIS gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
Let's start to look into this gospel. In Romans 3:27, the second part of the verse, we see that this righteousness of God, revealed in the gospel, revealed apart from Law, was witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. So we see right off that the gospel did NOT originate in the New Testament! The gospel did NOT come into existence when Jesus came to earth and lived and died and was resurrected! The GOSPEL has been around since the first human beings walked the earth. And you know what? The GOSPEL hasn't changed. The way of salvation hasn't changed. It's been the same since the beginning. There's no such thing as the "Mosaic economy" of the Old Testament as contrasted with the "gospel economy" of the New Testament. There are many religionists around who want you to believe that "now in this gospel age, salvation is no more of works but of grace." Think about what this is saying. "NO MORE of works." "NOW it's of grace." This is saying that salvation USED TO BE of works! Beware of people who talk about the New Testament age and the current age as "the age of grace" or "the gospel economy." It stems from the damnable Scofield dispensationalists who want to divide the Bible into many ages or economies or stewardships, under which there are different conditions of salvation. Scofield said this in his Reference Bible: "The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ." Charles Ryrie said this in his book entitled Dispensationalism Today: "The basis of salvation in every age is the death of Christ; the requirement for salvation in every age is faith; the object of faith in every age is God; the content of faith changes in the various dispensations."
But the Bible will have none of this. Look at our passage again. This righteousness of God revealed in the gospel was witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, and Paul goes on to describe this righteousness -- "even the righteousness of God through faith of JESUS CHRIST"!! This gospel that was revealed in the Old Testament was the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!! The CONTENT of faith has always been the same -- belief in the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. There was NEVER a time when obedience to the Law was a condition of salvation. To believe such heresy is to believe exactly what the lost JEWS believed that Paul CONDEMNED!! No, there has never been a time when regenerate people have been under the Law as a way of salvation. And thus there was never a change to being "under grace" in the New Testament dispensation. All through the entire Bible, salvation has been by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE in CHRIST ALONE. Look back at Romans 1:2, which we've already gone over. Let's read verses 1 through 3:
Romans 1: (1) Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God, (2) which He promised before through His prophets in [the] holy Scriptures, (3) concerning His Son who came of the seed of David according to flesh,
What were the prophets preaching? The gospel promise concerning the Son of God. They were proclaiming the good news of God's promise to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of the coming Messiah.
Let's look at John 8:56:
John 8: (56) Your father Abraham leaped for joy that he should see My day, and he saw, and rejoiced.
Abraham knew about Christ, who wasn't even going to be born for thousands of years! And not only did Abraham KNOW about Christ, he REJOICED when he looked toward the day of Christ. What was he rejoicing about? The only thing he could have been rejoicing about was that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, would come to establish a righteousness that ensured the salvation of all whom He represented. Abraham believed God's promise of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. And Galatians 3:8 says that God preached the gospel to Abraham. And in Romans 4, which we will go into in more detail in other sermons, the Lord willing, we see that Abraham believed on God justifying the ungodly. Couple that with John 8:56, and you see that Abraham believed and rejoiced that God justifies the ungodly based on the work of Christ! Also in Romans 4, we see that David believed in imputed righteousness! I wonder how the dispensationalists would handle that one. And 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 says that the Old Testament fathers drank of the spiritual rock of Christ.
The gospel is all over the Old Testament. Let's turn to a few instances of it:
Genesis 3: (15) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
Deuteronomy 18: (18) I shall raise up a prophet to them from among their brothers, [one] like you; and I will put My Words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
Psalm 72: (1) Give the king Your judgments, O God; and Your righteousness to the king's son. (2) Your people He shall judge in righteousness, and Your poor in justice. (3) The mountains will lift up peace to the people, and the little hills through righteousness. (4) He shall judge the poor of the people; and He shall save the sons of the needy; and He shall crush the oppressor. (5) They shall fear You with the sun, and before the moon in all generations. (6) He shall descend like rain on the mown grass, like showers [that] water the earth. (7) In His days the righteous shall flourish, and plenty of peace, till the moon [is] not. (8) He shall also rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (9) Those dwelling in the desert will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dust. (10) The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. (11) Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him. (12) For He shall save the needy who cries, and the poor [with] no helper. (13) He shall have pity on the poor and needy; and He saves the souls of the needy ones. (14) He shall redeem their souls from oppression and violence; and their blood shall be precious in His eyes. (15) And He shall live, and the gold of Sheba shall be given to Him; and prayer shall be made for Him continually; He shall bless Him all the day. (16) A fullness of grain shall be in the earth on top of the mountains; its fruit shall shake like Lebanon; and [they] of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth. (17) His name shall be forever; His name shall continue before the sun; and they shall bless themselves by Him; all nations shall call Him blessed. (18) Blessed [is] Jehovah God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful things. (19) And blessed [is] His glorious name forever; and the whole earth is filled [with] His glory! Amen and amen! (20) The prayers of David the son of Jesse have ended.
Psalm 85: (1) O Jehovah, You have been gracious to Your land; You have turned back the captivity of Jacob. (2) You have taken away the iniquity of Your people; You covered all of their sins. Selah. (3) You gathered all of Your wrath; You turned from the heat of Your anger. (4) O God of our salvation turn us, and break up Your anger with us. (5) Will You be angry with us forever? Will You draw out Your anger to all generations? (6) Will You give us life anew, so that Your people may rejoice in You? (7) Cause us to see Your mercy, O Jehovah, and give us Your salvation. (8) I will hear what Jehovah God will say; for He will speak peace to His people, and His saints; but let them not turn again to folly. (9) Surely His salvation [is] near to the [ones] fearing Him, for glory to dwell in our land. (10) Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace kissed [each other]. (11) Truth shall sprout out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from Heaven. (12) Yea, Jehovah shall give good, and our land shall give its produce. (13) Righteousness shall go before Him and shall make a way for His footsteps.
Psalm 98: (1) O sing to Jehovah a new song, for He has done wondrous things; His right hand and His holy arm has saved Him. (2) Jehovah has revealed His salvation; He unveiled His righteousness to the eyes of the nations. (3) He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (4) Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth; break out and rejoice and sing praise. (5) Sing praise to Jehovah with the lyre; with the lyre and the voice of a song. (6) With trumpets and the sound of a horn, make a joyful noise before Jehovah the King. (7) Let the sea roar, and the fullness of it; the world, and those who live in it. (8) Let the rivers clap [their] hands; let the heights shout for joy together, (9) before Jehovah; for He comes to judge the earth; with righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples in uprightness.
Psalm 110: (1) A declaration of Jehovah to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I place Your enemies [as] Your footstool. (2) Jehovah shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion [to] rule in the midst of Your enemies. (3) Your people [shall have] willingness in the day of Your might; in the majesties of holiness; from the womb of the dawn, to You [is] the dew of Your youth. (4) Jehovah has sworn and will not repent: You [are] a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (5) The Lord at Your right hand shatters kings in the day of His anger. (6) He shall judge among the nations; He shall fill with dead bodies; He shall shatter heads over much land. (7) He shall drink out of the torrent on the way; therefore, He shall lift up the head.
Psalm 118: (1) Give thanks to Jehovah, for [He is] good; because His mercy [endures] forever. (2) Let Israel say now that His mercy [endures] forever. (3) Let the house of Aaron say now that His mercy [endures] forever. (4) Let those who fear Jehovah say now that His mercy [endures] forever. (5) I called Jehovah from the distress; He answered me in the large place of Jehovah. (6) Jehovah [is] for me; I will not fear; what can man do to me? (7) Jehovah [is] for me among those who help me, and I shall see [my desire] on those who hate me. (8) [It is] better to trust in Jehovah than to trust in man; (9) [it is] better to trust in Jehovah than to trust in nobles. (10) All the nations surround me; but surely I will destroy them in the name of Jehovah. (11) They surround me; yea, they surround me; I surely will destroy them in the name of Jehovah. (12) They surround me like bees; they are quenched like the fire of thorns; for surely I will cut them off in the name of Jehovah. (13) Pushing, you pushed me to fall; but Jehovah helped me. (14) Jehovah [is] my strength and my song; and He is my salvation. (15) The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of Jehovah works mightily. (16) The right hand of Jehovah is exalted; the right hand of Jehovah acts mightily. (17) I shall not die, but I shall live and declare the works of Jehovah. (18) Chastening, Jehovah has chastened me, but He has not given me to death. (19) Open the gates of righteousness to me, I will enter into them; I will thank Jehovah. (20) This [is] the gate of Jehovah, the righteous shall enter into it. (21) I will thank You, for You answered me, and [You] are my salvation. (22) The Stone [which] the builders rejected has become the Head of the Corner. (23) This is from Jehovah, it [is] marvelous in our eyes. (24) This [is] the day Jehovah has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (25) O Jehovah, I beseech You, save now; I beseech You, O Jehovah, cause [us] to prosper now. (26) Blessed [is] he who comes in the name of Jehovah; we blessed you from the house of Jehovah. (27) Jehovah [is] God, and He gives light to us. Tie the sacrifice with cords, to the horns of the altar. (28) You [are] my God, and I will exalt You; My God, I will thank You! (29) O give thanks to Jehovah, for [He is] good; for His mercy [endures] forever.
Isaiah 29: (16) Oh your perversity! Shall the former be counted as the clay? For shall the work of its maker say, He did not make me? Or shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, He does not understand?
Isaiah 45: (21) Declare and bring near; yea, let them consult together. Who has revealed this of old; [who] has told it from then? Is it not I, Jehovah? And there [is] no God other than Me; a just God and a Savior; [there is] none except Me. (22) Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I [am] God, and there [is] no other. (23) I have sworn by Myself, the Word has gone out of My mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) He shall say, Only in Jehovah do I have righteousness and strength; to Him he comes; and they are ashamed, all who are angry with Him. (25) In Jehovah all of the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.
Isaiah 46: (13) I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not wait; I will place salvation in Zion, My glory for Israel.
Jeremiah 23: (5) Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and act wisely, and [He] shall do justice and righteousness in the earth. (6) In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is His name [by] which He shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness.
Daniel 9: (25) Know, then, and understand [that] from the going out of a word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, to Messiah [the] Prince, [shall be] seven weeks and sixty two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction. (26) And after sixty two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not [for] Himself. And the people of a coming ruler shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end [shall be] with the flood, and ruins are determined, and war [shall be] until [the] end.
Zechariah 6: (12) And speak to him, saying, So says Jehovah of Hosts, saying, Behold! The Man whose name [is] THE BRANCH! And He shall spring up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of Jehovah. (13) Even He shall build the temple of Jehovah; and He shall bear the majesty, and shall sit and rule on His throne. And He shall be a priest on His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between the two of them.
Zechariah 9: (9) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King comes to you! He is righteous and being victorious, humble, and riding on an ass, even on a colt, the son of an ass.
Let's turn to Isaiah 53:1-12 to close:
Isaiah 53: (1) Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Jehovah revealed? (2) For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He [has] no form nor magnificence that we should see Him; nor form that we should desire Him. (3) [He is] despised and abandoned of men, a Man of pains, and acquainted with sickness. And as it were hiding [our] faces from Him, He being despised, and we did not value Him. (4) Surely He has borne our sicknesses, and He carried our pain; yet we esteemed Him plagued, smitten by God, and afflicted. (5) But He was wounded for our transgressions; [He was] bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His wounds we ourselves are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to his own way; and Jehovah made meet in Him the iniquity of all of us. (7) He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a ewe before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from justice; and who shall consider His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; from the transgression of My people, the stroke [was] to Him. (9) And He appointed [Him] His grave with the wicked, but [He was] with a rich [man] in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit [was] not in His mouth. (10) But Jehovah pleased to crush Him, to make Him sick, [so that] If He should put His soul as a guilt offering, He shall see [His] seed; He shall prolong [His] days; and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. (11) He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul; He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge the righteous One, My Servant, shall justify for many, and He shall bear their iniquities. (12) Because of this I will divide to Him with the great, and with the strong He shall divide the spoil; because He poured out His soul to death; and [He] was counted with those transgressing; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for those transgressing.