We already learned about the bad news, that none is righteous and every sin incurs God’s judgment. We cannot escape God’s justice. We have no excuse for the coming punishment. On our own, we have no way out of the imminent judgment of God.
This is men’s inescapable situation. Someone has to provide a way of escape. We are in a difficult situation where our only hope depends on another.
However, in thinking about God’s provision of escape, men erroneously magnify God’s love over His justice. They think that since God loves us, we can be with Him again without satisfying His justice. But love is not merely sentimental or based on gushy feelings. We need to balance God’s love and justice. We do not believe in a God who is only full of love, but a God who is altogether loving, just, holy, gracious, and merciful.
Let us look at a passage that balances God’s magnificent attributes as the display of His glory. In Exodus 34:6-7 we read,
Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth; who keeps faithfulness for thousands, who forgives wrongdoing, violation of His Law, and sin
Men would love to hear this passage and would heartily say “Amen”. But if you continue reading, they will close their ears to the second part where it says,
...yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, inflicting the punishment of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.
God’s justice has to be satisfied. If He will not punish sin, it will be an affront against His holy character, whose eyes are too pure to behold evil (Habakkuk 1:3). This is the divine dilemma.
We fail to meet His justice and His love.
But God has an escape plan. It is by the divine initiative and His sovereign work alone where He mercifully and graciously calls all people indiscriminately that they may flee from the wrath to come.
In Romans 3:21-26, we find the heartbeat of the heart of the gospel,
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in God’s merciful restraint He let the sins previously committed go unpunished; 26 for the demonstration, that is, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
In this passage, we see that in Christ God maintained His righteousness in forgiving sinners like you and me. Three times, the Apostle Paul writes that God’s righteousness was demonstrated and manifested. The divine dilemma is answered by the glorious gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ is the theatre upon which we see the brightness of God’s love, holiness, grace, justice, righteousness, and mercy shines together. The demand for God’s justice is fulfilled in the death of Christ and the proof that God was satisfied was seen in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
God Himself became a Man (Philippians 2:5-8), bore the sins of His people by shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary (1 Peter 2:24), suffered the divine judgment and drank the cup of God’s wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18). The Good news is the LORD has provided a way of escape. Justice and love are satisfied., and those who repent of their sins and trust in Him alone will be saved. My friend, this is the ONLY WAY OF ESCAPE to your dilemma. Are you now concerned about your soul’s eternal destiny? You can be right with God through Christ alone. Come to Him for pardon and be cleansed within!
God revealed the gospel. Jesus is the only way (John 14:6).
The normal response to this is that we only have One God and any way we take will lead to the same God. However, a close look at other religions will ultimately bring men away from the true God.
There cannot be so many ways of escape. Romans 1:16 exclusively and unashamedly proclaims that the gospel is “THE POWER OF GOD”.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Furthermore, Acts 4:12 limits the way of men’s salvation by the singular NAME of Jesus Christ.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.”
Charles Spurgeon preached this passage on August 15, 1858, he said,
A thousand errors may live in peace with one another, but [the] truth is the hammer that breaks them all in pieces. A hundred lying religions may sleep peaceably in one bed, but wherever the Christian religion goes as the truth, it is like a fire-brand, and it abideth nothing that is not more substantial than the wood, the hay, and the stubble of carnal error... the religion of Christ is a thing of God's—its pedigree is from on high, and, therefore, when once it is thrust into the midst of an ungodly and gainsaying generation, it hath neither peace, nor parley, nor treaty with them, for it is truth, and cannot afford to be yoked with error: it stands upon its own rights, and gives to error its due, declaring that it hath no salvation, but that in the truth, and in the truth alone, is salvation to be found.1
God’s justice must be satisfied. The demand is perfection and payment for the penalty of sin by blood.
Jesus lived on behalf of sinners. He perfectly fulfilled the law. He shed His life on the cross, that there may be forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).
His obedience unto death is substitutionary. It was done for and on behalf of His people.
The only way to escape God’s righteous punishment and fierce wrath is through Christ Alone, the Son of God incarnate. Be washed by the blood of the spotless Lamb and be clothed with the righteousness of the sinless Savior!
Let us hide in Christ’s love. No other man has and can ever satisfy both the justice and love of God but Jesus Christ Alone.
Note: This post is taken from our pastor’s sermon during our midweek service at Bella Vista Outreach.
Cover photo by Mwewering from Pixabay.com
1 Charles Haddon Spurgeon , The Way of Salvation from: New Park Street Pulpit Volume 4