THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."
Devotion 15 of 30
JUSTICE--SATISFIED IN JESUS
All of the demands of the Law are met in our salvation. God will not excuse sin, or simply turn His eyes away from it. This should come as no surprise to us, for God has revealed this aspect of His nature. "The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and THAT WILL BY NO MEANS CLEAR THE GUILTY . . . " (Ex 34:6-7). "God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked . . . " (Nah 1:2-3).
If the sins of men are to be forgiven, they must be forgiven righteously, else God will contradict His own nature--something that is inconceivable! "He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim 2:13). A salvation that requires God to contradict His own nature is no salvation at all! While God "commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30), repentance itself does not make God's forgiveness right. That is precisely why God "overlooked," or "winked at," the "times of ignorance" prior to Christ's atoning death (Acts 17:30a). Had He not done so, His nature would have demanded the immediate condemnation of humanity. Now God opens the door to Himself through repentance because of the satisfactory sacrifice of Christ.
God, according to His predetermination, punished sin in the Son, and did it publicly. As it is written, "Christ Jesus; Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed" (Rom 3:24b 25, NASB). Thus, Jesus was "made to be sin for us" (2 Cor 5:21), was "made a curse for us" (Gal 3:13), and was "delivered up because of our offenses" (Rom 4:25). Rather than being done "in a corner" (Acts 26:25), this was done openly and publically. In this, not only was the heinousness of sin revealed, but the greatness of God's desire to reconcile the world unto Himself was also made known.
This was not an afterthought by God, for Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:9). Peter was inspired to say it this way. "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Pet 1:18-20).
A Public Declaration
In the vicarious, or substitutionary, atonement of Christ, God publicly declared He was right in being forbearing with the human race prior to Jesus. He had written fallen angels off immediately, confining them "in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). Those dessenting angels, however, had fallen from a more lofty height, with nothing left to draw them back
Notwithstanding, God did not appear righteous in passing over "the sins previously committed" by fallen man. He did not, however, pass over these sins in an attitude of indifference. Neither, indeed, did He do it because He simply felt sorry for us. He did it in anticipation of the sacrifice of Christ. He knew He was going to lay the iniquities of the world upon Christ, thereby judging sin in its totality (Isa 53:6). It was in prospect of Christ's sacrifice for sin that God was forbearing with sinners.
Thus, the justice of God is satisfied by the atoning death of Christ Jesus. In fact that is the ONLY way it could be satisfied. And, make no mistake about it, this aspect of God--namely, His justice--had to be satisfied. Salvation must, and does, not only declare a justifying God, but One who is JUST in doing so. As it is written, "to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just AND THE JUSTIFIER of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom 3:26).
PRAYER POINT: Father, I thank You through Jesus for providing a righteous salvation that cannot be contradicted by the devil, nor successfully challenged by my enemies.
-- Tomorrow: IT IS A RIGHTEOUS SALVATION --