The Righteousness of God

Yesterday afternoon I was meditating on Romans 3:22-26 as I find myself doing often as of late. God has really opened up my heart and mind to these scriptures in particular, with a broader focus on Romans 3:9-28 but with an even more intent focus on Romans 3:22-26. As many of you know I have been memorizing the gospel of John and I have been doing so that I may know my Lord more intimately and it has had a profound effect on me and the way I see my Lord, He is so beautiful and amazing that words cannot even begin to impart. What I have put to memory is mine, I can meditate on it at anytime anywhere and no man can take it away from me. If all of scripture was destroyed and all the writings of godly men were destroyed, what God has put to my memory will remain with me for life and eternally. But if somehow all of my memories were to be erased and I could just hold on to one passage it would be Romans 3:9-28 and particularly Romans 3:22-26, in it is the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Man’s sin and rebellion against God, the justice of God, the mercy of God, the Holiness of God, God’s hatred of sin, and most of all the righteousness of God.

Most sermons that I here are very man centered, it seems that man is at the center of attention and God saves man, and it’s all about man. But that is not what I see when I read this passage, the gospel begins and ends with God, we are but created beings worthy of all condemnation that God demonstrates His perfect love on and His righteousness. The gospel is not about man it is all about God. As I was meditating on this passage yesterday and it suddenly occurred to me (I believe from the spirit of God), that Jesus did not die for man but solely to demonstrate the righteousness of God. For the sake of God’s own righteousness did Jesus die. “To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). The greatest question in all of Christianity, the greatest question in all of scripture is this; if God is just how can He justify the wicked? “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:15). If God is good and a just judge He cannot pardon the wicked, if He pardons the wicked He is not just. I say that to people and they have the biggest question mark on their continents. It amazes me that this is not a normal thing in Christianity, because it is the gospel. I listened to a sermon yesterday by Paul Washer and he said something I thought was profound and truth, “This country is not gospel hardened, this country is gospel ignorant.” God’s perfect justice says that if you break His law the penalty is death being cast out of the kingdom of God into hell fire. If He were to simply say, “That man right there, I love him I don’t want to see him perish, I am going to pardon him, I want him to be with me in paradise”; if he did that He would be unjust he would not be upholding justice. Would He be merciful yes, but not just?

Man has sinned so a Man has to die; “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9) so the One who saves has to be God. Now how can God be both just and merciful at the same time, there is only one way and in that way is perfect love? The One who poured out is wrath from heaven on His only begotten Son for sin has to also be the same One on the cross barring the penalty for sin, which is death and being cast out alone into outer darkness. You heard me rightly; the One who was punishing was also the same One being punished. Jesus said, “I and My father are one” (John 10:30). There is One God, the creator of all things? He God the Father was in heaven pouring out His wrath on His only begotten Son for sin; for His justice, and He God the Son was on the cross barring the full wrath of God for sin; for His mercy. So therefore God was both in heaven and on the cross, coexistent and One God. Why? “To demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26 emphasis added).

Repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone and you will be saved,
Mike Peek