April 2, 2020

Just and the Justifier

Devotional by: Wyatt Brandt

“God put forward [Jesus] as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” ~ Romans 3:25-26

In a world seemingly overtaken by corruption and compromise, it doesn’t take much imagination to think of a time when someone was treated unjustly—not getting a fair turn on the playground, unfair treatment in the workplace, racial discrimination, the innocent convicted of a crime, or the guilty person acquitted.

Think how unjust it would be for a judge to acquit a man who was guilty of murder. Not only would there be no justice for the victim, but this murderer would be let loose into the community unchanged, free to murder again, putting the whole community in danger. That act of the judge would be unjust.                 

Many who believe in the existence of God would agree with the notion that God is love. In fact, one of the most popular ways of thinking of God’s love is this—God loves so much that he doesn’t care about your sin, he will overlook or ignore it and “love you for who you are.” Does that sound like a just judge to you?

Indeed, our God is love, but brushing sin under the rug is not how he loves. He will not tell us one thing and then act like another, for he cannot deny himself (2 Tim 2:13). The God of the Bible is just and upright (Deut 32:4). The book of Numbers teaches us that God “will by no means clear the guilty” (Num 14:18). How then can God be just yet also mercifully love sinners?

God’s forgiveness is costly and that truth is most evident on the cross, where justice and love join hands. Jesus’ sacrifice provides him a way to receive sinners while remaining true to what he has revealed about himself as a just God. The sins of all who will ever be justified were judged and punished in Jesus on the cross, and it is on this basis that justification is now offered to us offenders.

If you are in Christ, you can rest in the fact that your sin and punishment have been taken care of once and for all and you have been declared righteous—justified in God’s sight.

Passages for Further Study
Deuteronomy 10:17-21
Psalm 146
Romans 5:18-21