The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Friends: no doctrine of Scripture transcends the importance of the truth considered in today's message. Every believer must have an established and growing understanding of available forgiveness, based solely on Christ's atoning faithfulness on our behalf.)
"Just and the Justifier"
As a poetic form, but even more as a sublime expression of truth, all twenty six verses of Psalm 136 conclude with the refrain, "His mercy endureth forever." The blessed promise assures us of God's loving determination to bestow forgiveness on all who come to Him with a humble, repentant, and trusting heart. "There is forgiveness with Thee" (Psalm 130:4). Moreover, having received God's pardon by the way He prescribes, the promise of eternally enduring mercy assures us that He will not turn from His commitment to absolve us of sin. "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8).
What is the basis of such grace? The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ provide the answer. Who Christ is and His work of grace on behalf of God and humanity enables our Heavenly Father to be "just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). God's righteousness means that He cannot simply decree forgiveness and pardon. Justice must be served against sin. Someone has to pay. Someone did pay. "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (I Peter 3:18). This includes both Old and New Testament saints. Before the cross, "the shadow of good things to come" - Christ's sacrifice - provided pardon for all who trusted God's promise of future grace and redemption (Hebrews 10:1). After Calvary, the bright light of Divine mercy absolves all who "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy" (Hebrews 4:16). As the old hymn beautifully assures, "the way of the cross leads home." No other way does. Again, only in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus could God pave a path to Himself that maintains His perfect integrity while bestowing freely given pardon to sinners. Just and the Justifier…
If God forgave one sin apart from the Person and work of Christ, He could no longer be trusted. This is an impossibility, of course, but we do well to think in such terms. Our Lord's integrity is just as important for us as it is for Him. A mere decree of pardon would mean compromise of character. Conversely, the gift of pardon purchased by the highest cost ever remitted - the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus - maintains and exponentially confirms the wondrous character of God. He loves His Son eternally and forevermore. "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). He also loves sinners, and in the wonder of His gracious heart, was willing to give His Beloved to a life and death of sorrow in order to make forgiveness abundantly available. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He hast put Him to grief… Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10). "Wondrous character" indeed! And wondrous mercy, freely given, but expensively purchased. "We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin" (Colossians 1:14).
Every forgiven sin flows on the current of Christ's lifeblood. Every joyous realization of forgiveness proceeds from sorrows beyond measure. Every "He will abundantly pardon" graces us by way of "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Isaiah 55:7; Matthew 27:46). God loves to freely forgive, and we must never think we can pay for our pardon. But Somebody did. And that Somebody presently and forevermore abides at the right hand of God "to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). In such holy light, no believer ever takes lightly the wonder of forgiveness. Nor do we fail to be amazed by the wondrous character of the One who remains in moral perfection, while redeeming with merciful pardon. Let us then join the refrain of the Psalm - "His mercy endureth forever" - and the declaration of the book of Revelation…
"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty!"
Weekly Memory Verse
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.