"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" --King James Version.
ESV - 24 And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
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Earlier in the cited chapter, Paul was distinguishing between Jews and Gentiles with respect to God's plan of salvation from the standpoint of the Jews originally having been selected by God as His chosen people who received the words contained in the Old Testament, to the exclusion of non-Jews (that is, Gentiles). However, as recounted in Acts 10, after the finished work of salvation that Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection, God definitively indicated that Gentiles were now to be included among those who could receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in Christ. (This was pre-figured even during Jesus' ministry, when He commended the Roman centurion who believed that Jesus could heal his servant from a distance as having greater faith than He had been able to find even among the Israelites to that point (Matthew 8:5-13).) Thus, justification (being made righteous in God's sight) was now freely available to all as a result of God's grace (that is, His unmerited favor that none of us deserves, since we are all universally sinful). That is why Paul refers to it as a gift.
Other translations are helpful here. J.B. Phillips says, "Under this divine system a man who has faith is now freely acquitted in the eyes of God by his generous dealing in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ." So too, the OJB, the Orthodox Jewish Bible has "They are acquitted..." TLB (The Living Bible) says, "yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins." NET © But they are justified 1 freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. It's a judicial declaration. Matthew Poole says, "it is without any cause or merit in us; and by the free favor of God to undeserving, ill-deserving creatures, Ephesians 1:6-7; 2:8; Titus 3:7." 1Or “declared righteous.” Grk “being justified,” as a continuation of the preceding clause. (Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the NET translation. The CEV (Contemporary English Version includes, "But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.
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