God Is Just in Saving or in Judging

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
That it should be a righteous thing for God to judge the guilty, none can deny. Did He allow sin to pass unpunished, there would be an end to His moral government. But His throne ever maintains its authority and holiness; and, therefore, every violation of this is brought into judgment. "Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?" Rom. 3:66God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? (Romans 3:6). But the wonderful thing is, that God is as righteous in saving as in judging. He is "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (v. 26).
Now this is a marvelous fact, and demands our deepest consideration. Granted that I am guilty, that I have sinned and come short of His glory (v. 23), I have, by this means, justly incurred His wrath. How then can God, with equal justice, exempt me from that judgment, acquit me of my guilt, and give me to stand before Him justified?
This profoundly important question, one that is of vital and eternal moment to each- to you, my reader, and to myself—is fully answered in the chapter referred to; namely, Rom. 3 Let me quote at length the three blessed verses that contain the answer: "Being 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 [passing over, margin] 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." vv. 24-26.
"At this time." What time? Well, the time subsequent to the cross. Before that point, the saints of the Old Testament enjoyed the passing over of their sins by God's forbearance, in view, doubtless, of the cross, but not the conscious forgiveness of them; but now, at the cross, full satisfaction to the throne of God was made by the death of His blessed Son and the judgment He bore on the tree, so that believers, in these New Testament times, are not passed over as to their sins, but are justified from them. The cross, therefore, furnished that which enabled God in righteousness to justify the ungodly. The redemption that is in Christ Jesus is the divine answer to our question. Leave out that redemption, and the God who can in justice save must then in justice damn; as, indeed, the soul that refuses this redemption shuts itself up to judgment. But the cross makes all the difference. The death of Him, the eternal Son of God, sent by Him, yet voluntarily coming, has met all the claims of justice. The sword is sheathed. The way is made in the blood of Christ, whereby the greatest sinner can be saved, a dying thief go to paradise, and a holy
God declare that He is just in justifying such. True, it is "by His grace," for that is the source of all. It is the spring and fount of all the rest. But it is not merely grace. It is "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Hence, the ground is certain. I have not a mere vague hope in God's mercy now that, by His grace, I am a believer. He is not only merciful, but just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. His justice seals my security. The whole moral character of God enlists itself on the behalf of the weakest believer in Jesus. What comfort! what strength! what a source of song! How gladly the heart, thus divinely set free, seeks that, as justified by faith before God, it may, at the same time, be justified by works before men. See Jas. 2
What a wonderful thing that God should be just in justifying! That He is just in judging, all can see; but think how wondrous must that redemption be, that maintains His holiness while it makes us who believe "the righteousness of God" in Christ! It is all God's work.