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Romans Series #30
the Door of Mercy
Text: Romans 3:24-26
Subject: Justice and Mercy
Date: Sunday Morning — October 5, 2014
Reading: Revelation 20:1-15
The suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ in the place of sinners at Calvary was the greatest revelation that God has ever made to the sons of men. The cross teaches us everything that we need to know about God.
The cross has also been the battering-ram to break down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, the battering-ram by which the church of God triumphs over the gates of hell. It is by the blood of Christ that we are one. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but follow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Those distinctions of race that divide men in this world have been destroyed by the cross of Christ. In Christ Jesus there is no longer barbarian, Sythian, bond or free, circumcision or uncircumcision, but Christ is all in all.
That same blessed sacrifice has also broken down the wall that stood between us and God. Our Lord shed his blood upon Calvary, “that he might reconcile us unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” We were alienated from God until Christ reconciled us by his blood. We remain enemies in our minds by wicked works until we see the great love wherewith he loved us. Then our hearts are melted by that love; and we are made friends with God.
Time and ability would fail me if I were to try to set before you all the blessed purposes which the cross of Christ serves before God and among men. This we know: — It has its everlasting effect upon the highest heaven; and it has saved our souls from the deepest hell.
As I look upon that cross upon which the Savior died, I see in it more than a mere piece of wood. I see its top reaching up to the most excellent glory, bringing God’s elect up to the very throne of the Most High himself. I see its base sinking deep as our shameful miseries could plunge us in helpless and hopeless ruin. I see it sinking down until it reaches even the depths of the vengeance of God. I see its arms spreading over a fallen race, until all whom God has chosen are sheltered beneath them. I see the cross of Calvary as the key which opens the gates of heaven to flood the earth with goodness and mercy for the sons of men.
Yes, the cross of Christ satisfies every purpose of God for his lost and ruined children upon the earth. But coming now more directly to my text, it seems to me that the primary purpose of the sacrifice of Christ was that the righteousness of God might be made manifest. Twice over the Apostle Paul assures us that this was the case. — The Lord Jesus Christ is he “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation…to declare his righteousness.” And as if that were not enough, he repeats himself, “to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness.”
Romans 3:24-26 (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) 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; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
My subject this morning is – JUSTICE — THE DOOR OF MERCY. The God of Glory is gracious and merciful to men. But he will never show grace at the expense of his justice. No! The justice of God must be satisfied. As a matter of fact, it is only through the satisfaction of his justice that men can receive his mercy. And I rejoice to tell you that, through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, the justice of God now pleads as strongly as his grace for the salvation of his people.
I have nothing new to say this morning. I would be ashamed of myself if I did. This is the old, old doctrine of the cross. This is the soul saving truth. It is blessedly simple; and we thank God that it is. It is so simple that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein. To learn this doctrine is to have the beginning of wisdom. To receive this truth by faith is to enter the way of life. I pray that God the Holy Ghost will give you ears to hear and hearts to receive the righteousness of God revealed in the cross of Christ.
Proposition: I have only one lesson that I want you to learn this morning. This is what the Holy Spirit teaches us in this passage of Scripture. — The death of Jesus Christ is the resplendent manifestation of divine righteousness.
Divisions: I will make three statements which seem to be evidently true from this text:
First, I want to emphasize the fact that — The death of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary manifests the justice of God in the highest possible degree. — This is a grand thought. It will prove to be a blessed consolation to your soul, if you can get a proper understanding of it. The greatest display that was ever made of divine justice was the one set forth at Calvary.
We have many illustrations and examples of divine justice, but none of them fully display it.
The Scriptures give us many other judgments, which are manifestations of Divine Justice. But they are not such manifestations as we have in the death of Christ. In comparison to the death of Christ, these judgments were only slight stirrings of justice. But when God’s only begotten, darling Son stood before him, the Just in the place of the unjust, the sinless in the place of the sinful, the guiltless in the place of the guilty, the Holy One being made sin, he arose in all the fury of his holiness to demonstrate his anger with sin, and to satisfy his justice. I say that the death of Christ sets forth divine justice more than all other judgments put together.
I must go one step further. You may think me excessive, but I am persuaded that this statement is as true as Scripture itself. Even hell itself can never so fully demonstrate the justice of God as did the death of Christ. In hell sinners will suffer eternally, because they can never satisfy divine justice. If ever the sufferings of sinful men could satisfy God’s justice, then hell would, at some time, come to an end.
But, behold the Lamb of God! He takes away the sins of the world, because he satisfied justice fully. See him, as he drinks the cup of woe! See him, as he swallows the sword of justice into his soul! He endured the penalty of our sin! He paid the utmost farthing of our debt! Hell can never satisfy the justice of God, but Jesus Christ did! Hear him, he cries, “It is finished!”
Once it was mine, the cup of wrath,
But Jesus drank it dry;
When on the cursed tree transfixed,
He breathed the expiring sigh.
No tongue can tell the wrath He bore,
The wrath so due to me;
Sin’s just dessert, He bore it all,
To set this sinner free.
Now not a single drop remains,
“Tis finished,” was His cry;
With one tremendous draft of love
He drank damnation dry!
Let me show you how the justice of God was manifested in the death of Christ. — The death of Jesus Christ has gloriously set forth divine justice, because it shows us that sin can never to unpunished. It is the law of God’s moral universe that sin must be punished. That is as sure as the law of gravitation. He may suspend the law of gravitation. But the law of justice, he will never suspend. He will by no means clear the guilty. “The soul that sinneth, ti shall die.” “Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
Our God appointed the salvation of his people. It is the dearest desire of his soul. But even this will not allow him to alter his holy law. There can be no pardon without punishment. This is the reason why he gave Christ as a Substitute. If sin could be put away by any other means, it would have been the height of cruelty for God to slay his Son. — “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.”
The justice of God is clearly demonstrated also in what Christ had to endure as our Substitute.
A part of the penalty of sin is shame. — Sin always brings shame. Oh, what shame the Son of God endured when he was made sin for us! The wicked will rise “to shame and everlasting contempt.” Rebellion against God is the most shameful thing the angels ever beheld. The devil will be recognized, at last, as the greatest of fools. He will become the object of intense mockery. But never was there a more shameful scene in all eternity than the death of Christ.
· He was despised and rejected of men.
· His own disciples hid their faces from him.
· He was the song of the drunkard.
· Men spat upon him, mocked him, and cursed him.
Another part of the penalty for sin is sorrow. — We can never give out the meaning of our Savior when he said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” Brethren, your most tender sympathies can never interpret those pains of heart which forced blood from the pores of his skin. Hear him, “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.”
Sin always brings another punishment. The penalty of sin is divine desertion. — My friends, the most desperate cry that shall ever be heard in all eternity is this, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Surely, there can be no greater declaration of Divine Justice than this!
There is one more thing which our Lord endured as the penalty of sin — He died. I call upon you now to hold in sacred memory the excellency of that Person who suffered all of this to declare God’s righteousness.
· He is God over all, and blessed forever.
· He is the holy, harmless, undefiled Jesus of Galilee.
Never was the righteousness of God so fully revealed as when God the mighty Maker died for man, the creature’s sin!
Secondly, I want you to see that — By the Cross of Jesus Christ it is evident that God can be and is both Just and the Justifier of the ungodly. — He is “a just God and a Savior!”
When a man is first made aware of his lost and ruined condition as a sinner before the holy Lord God, he sees two things which terrify his soul. He sees that he is sinful; and he sees that God is holy. Since he knows that God is holy, he is convinced that God must punish sin.
So the poor sinner is shut up to God with this question, “How then can a man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?”
No man can be justified before God by the deeds of the law.
No sinner can ever be justified by his own efforts.
No sinner can ever be justified before God by religious works, ceremonies, or experiences. How, then, can a just God justify the man who has broken his law? There is only one way for a sinner to be justified with God. — We must be justified by free-grace through blood atonement.
Hear me, sinner, God demands two things of you.
But, blessed be his name forever, God has graciously supplied for sinners all the demands of his justice.
Mercy Strongest Plea
One last thought that I must just briefly mention is this — Since Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners, the justice of God has become mercy’s strongest plea at the throne of grace. Sinners may now safely plead for mercy on the grounds of justice.
Children of God, let his truth assure your hearts. Through Jesus Christ, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who ought to my charge shall lay?
While through Thy blood absolved I am,
From sin’s tremendous curse and shame.
I will make a few words of application and I will be done. But I pray that the Holy Spirit will not be done with you. I pray that he will prick your heart and cause you to come to God by faith in Jesus Christ.
Children of God, we are complete in Jesus Christ.
My soul complete in Jesus stands,
It fears no more the law’s demands;
The smile of God is sweet within,
Where all before was guilt and sin.
My soul at rest in Jesus lives;
Accepts the peace His pardon gives;
Receives the grace His death secured,
And pleads the anguish He endured.
My soul, its every foe defies,
And cries, “Tis God that justifies!”
Who charges God’s elect with sin?
Shall Christ, who died their peace to win?
A song of praise my soul shall sing,
To our eternal, glorious King!
Shall worship humbly at His feet,
In whom alone I stand complete.
Brethren, let us see what an evil thing sin is, and how God hates it. Christ died because of sin. Shall we live any longer in it?
Oh, how I want you who are without Christ to see your sad and dangerous condition, and flee now to him!
Christ has been lifted up before you this day. He waits to be gracious. There is life for a look at the crucified One. O sinner, look, look now to Jesus Christ, and live! Why will you perish? God’s justice pleads as strongly as his grace for the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ the Lord.