GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #462
Pastor Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
How can God be just and yet justify sinners? If you are not in too big a hurry to go to hell, give me your attention for just five minutes, and I will answer that question for you from the Word of God. This is what we are told in Romans 3:24-26. All who are born of God have "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."
God is just. “Justice and truth are the habitation of his throne.” Justice is the rectitude of his character which compels him to deal with his creatures in strict accordance with their deserts. Justice is as essential to the character of God as love and mercy. Because he is just, the only way God can save a guilty sinner, the only way he can bring a sinner into an eternal union of life with himself, is if he can make the sinner guiltless and sinless in the eyes of his own law and justice. This act of God’s matchless grace, by which he declares men to be guiltless and sinless, is what the apostle Paul calls “justification”.
Justification is a legal term. It means that God declares chosen, redeemed sinners guiltless, sinless, and perfectly righteous before his law. And when God declares that a person is guiltless and sinless, perfectly righteousness before him, that person really is in the eyes of God perfectly righteous. Our righteousness before God is not just a merciful supposition, it is a blessed reality in Christ. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is truly justified, perfectly righteous in the sight of God. How is this justification accomplished? This is the great question of the ages. “How can a man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly? Find the answer to that question and you have learned the gospel. If you have not found the answer to that question, you do not yet know the gospel.
Because God is holy, just, and true, he demands an infinite satisfaction for sin. No man can ever be saved until he has suffered the just penalty of the law due unto his sins, so that his crimes and offences against the law no longer exist in the eyes of the law. God is as good as his word; and he said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Eternal death in hell is the sentence of man’s sin against God, because mortal man can never make satisfaction for sin.
Not only does God require an infinite satisfaction for sin; he also requires of man perfect righteousness. No man will ever enter into heaven in the eternal bliss of fellowship with God, no man will ever be accepted in God’s presence, no man will ever be brought into union with the eternal God until he is perfectly holy and righteous, even as God himself. God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (Read Matt. 5:48). God requires total, absolute perfection. He will accept no one who is not perfect in holiness. Unless we render unto him a perfection of heart, perfection of thought, and perfection of life, with never so much as one deviation from absolute holiness, none of us shall ever see his face.
Is man therefore without hope? No, blessed be God, there is hope for sinners. He says, “I have laid help upon one that is mighty.” The Lord God has appointed One in whom “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” This is the good news of the gospel. God has set forth his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Substitute and Representative. As our Substitute, Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He put away our sins, brought in an everlasting righteousness for us, and accomplished our justification by his obedience to God as our Representative.