The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Just and the Justifier"
God, cannot simply forgive sin by overlooking it, or sweeping it under the rug, as it were. He must remain faithful to Himself, and true to the integrity of His nature as He bestows mercy.
"But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel" (Psalm 22:3).
Job seemed to realize this truth long before the New Testament addressed the seeming challenge regarding Divine justice and mercy.
"How should man be just with God?" (Job 9:2).
In his declaration of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul answers the question.
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
"Just and the justifier." Through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary, justice and mercy united to make possible our pardon from sin. In simple terms, He bore our iniquities so that we might bear His righteousness. Or, He suffered the justice of God by dying for our sins to make possible our freely given forgiveness. "God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). This reveals the Gospel in its simple essence, of course. However, the underlying truth of justice and mercy as it relates to God and His character must be considered and communicated. Only through the Lord Jesus can God forgive sin without compromising His nature and integrity. He cannot decree mercy by fiat. He must rather give His Son to die for it by sacrifice.
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:10-11).
If God ever forgave one sin by any other means than the Lord Jesus, He would become untrue to Himself and thus, unable to be for us who He promises to be. This He will not and cannot do. All who have ever been pardoned found such grace through trusting in the promised Deliverer to come, or in the Redeemer who came. Indeed, our salvation involves our Lord's character no less - and in ultimate terms, even more - than our rescue. He must be both "just and the Justifier." Christ makes possible the blessed union of justice uncompromised and mercy unleashed. The Psalmist alluded to such a wonder, and we close with his obvious foretelling of the Savior in whom…
"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."
"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 2:5)
Weekly Memory Verse
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth…. Be clothed with humility."
(III John 1:4; I Peter 5:5)