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November 21 Today’s Reading: Romans 3-5
“Justified Freely by His Grace
Through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
Without question, the most wondrous of all God’s works is the work of redemption. When we think about what that great work involved, we are lost in astonishment. When we think of the unutterable depths of shame and sorrow into which the Lord of glory entered to save us, we are awed and staggered.
As we trace the path of our Savior from the throne of life to the tomb of death and behold him who was rich, for our sakes, becoming poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich, we cannot fathom the depths of the wonders before us. We know that every step in the path of our Redeemer’s humiliation was ordained in the eternal purpose of God. Yet, it was a path of immeasurable sorrow, unutterable anguish, ceaseless ignominy, bitter hatred, and relentless persecution; a path that brought the beloved Son of God, the Darling of heaven, to suffer the painful, shameful death of the cross! What astonishing agony the Lord of Glory endured for our souls!
Standing at the foot of the cross, as I behold the Holy One nailed to the cursed tree, covered with his own blood and the spit of an enraged mob, made to be sin, forsaken and cursed of God his Father, yet, realizing that this is the work of God’s own hand, I am lost in astonishment! I am filled with reverence and awe (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).
Awed as I am with reverence for my crucified Lord, still there is a question that I cannot suppress, a question that reason and sound judgment cannot fail to ask. The question is — Why? Why did the Son of God suffer such a death? Why did God so torment his beloved Son and kill him in such a horribly ignominious way? Surely, there must have been some great necessity for such a sacrifice. What was that necessity? What made the death of Christ necessary? Why did Christ have to die?
Was it to save my soul? I know that he died that I might live. He suffered, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring me to God. But was there no other way for the omnipotent God to save me? Was all this done to demonstrate the greatness of God’s love to me? I know it was (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). But God could have revealed his love to me in some other way. Why did he slay his Son? What necessity was there for the Son of God to suffer and die upon the cursed tree as the object of God’s holy wrath and justice?
Only one answer can be found to that question: — The justice of God had to be satisfied. There was no necessity for God to save anyone. Salvation is altogether the free gift of his grace. But, having determined to save his elect from the ruins of fallen humanity, the only way God could save his people and forgive their sins was by the death of Christ. — “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The justice of God had to be satisfied in order for God to save his people; and the only thing that could ever satisfy the justice of God is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. That was the necessity of Christ’s death as the sinners’ Substitute. Justice had to be satisfied. And now, because God’s justice has been satisfied by the death of his own dear Son, God is both just and the Justifier of all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:21; Romans 3:24-26).