“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…” (Romans 3:25)
On the surface, it would appear from the translation of this verse that one’s ‘faith’ is the instrumental cause of justification before God. However, depending on where you put the comma, it affects the overall sense. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation,” is better suited as a continuation of the previous verse showing that when Christ died to redeem His people, it is because God set Him forth (ordained) Him to be that Propitiation (Satisfaction or Mercy Seat). The comma, inserted by the editors, would be better placed after ‘through faith,’ where Faith is used as a synonym for THE GOSPEL. Faith here is the objective revelation of Christ and His shed blood whereby God could and did justify, once for all, there and then, those for whom the LORD Jesus laid down His life. The meaning then is that God has set forth Christ’s propitiation in the Gospel. “In His blood,” would then begin the next thought that it is in, or by His death, that the righteousness of God is declared as to why He was forbearing with the sins of those whom He purposed to save in the Old Testament. He was forbearing because He had determined all along that their sins would be punished in the death of Christ.
The "blood" of Christ is that, by which Christ is the Propitiation; for without the shedding of that blood, there is no redemption, no peace, no reconciliation, or remission of sin, Hebrews 9:22. This is set forth on every page of Scripture, and it is through Faith, i.e., the Faith once delivered unto the saints, Jude 1:3, and the Faith of God’s elect, Titus 1:1. It is that Faith upon which God’s children believe and rest, when taught of the Spirit of God. What greater hope, consolation and comfort could there be than to know that the LORD Jesus paid it all and that we stand justified by Him, not in our believing, but in His dying.
It is not hypothetical blood shed from eternity, but rather the literal blood from the body of the God-Man. Christ had no body in eternity, but what God purposed He accomplished in the fullness of time, Galatians 4:4. Nor is it some symbolic blood as in the types, because the blood of bulls and goats could never put away sin, Hebrews 9:26. Nor is it some conditional blood awaiting the fulfillment in man’s believing, as if that believing is what makes it effectual, 1 Thess. 2:13. NO! It is when He laid down His life and cried victoriously, “It is finished!” that it was finished and all of God’s elect were fully, freely, finally, and forever justified once for all, Hebrews 10:10,14.