"HOW CAN A JUST GOD FORGIVE SIN?"
I. THE DEFINING OF THE THREE CRUCIAL WORDS OF THE QUESTION.
A. Just, it comes from a root that means to see. We have a synonym, observe in which we mean more than just see, but to act in accordance to that which is seen.
1. At a camp we may say to the campers, we have posted these rules on the bulletin board and we want you to see them.
2. We have posted the rules and we want you to observe them.
a. With these clever kids we may find one of them breaking the rules and ask, "Did you not see the rules that were posted?" His smart answer is, "Yes I saw them."
b. Yet we know that he did not observe them. That is act in accordance with that which he saw.
B. Forgive. From a divine standpoint to forgive is to act as though there was never an infraction.
1. We have been introduced to a theological term in this chapter verse 24, where Paul speaks of being justified freely. The word justify is very similar in meaning to the divine forgiveness.
2. The definition for the word can best be understood by breaking up the word. Just as if I had never done it.
3. That is how God treats my sin. God looks upon it as though I never did it.
C. Sin, the word comes from a root word that means to miss the mark.
1. In verse 23 Paul declares that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
2. i.e. We have all missed the mark.
3. You ask, "But what is the mark?" I need to know what the mark is before I confess to missing it.
4. The mark is divine perfection. Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect even as My Father in heaven is perfect."
5. To be as perfect as God.
6. Do you now agree to the statement of the scriptures, "All have sinned."?
D. The question now defined is how can a God who sees things as they are and acts in accordance to what he sees, treat the missing of the mark as though it was not missed?
E. Our text declares, "That He be just when He justifies those who believe in Jesus?" But how can this be?
II. JESUS CHRIST WAS GOD INCARNATE. "IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD AND THE WORD WAS GOD. AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US." THE BIBLE DECLARES THAT GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH.
A. The moment we speak of a manifestation there is a recognition that there is more to be seen that than that which is revealed. A manifestation is not the totality of that which is being manifested.
B. When God laid on Jesus the iniquities of us all, God was taking upon Himself our sin and the guilt for our sin.
C. When Jesus suffered the cruel death on the cross for our sins, God was dying for the sins of man.
D. When Jesus was weeping over Jerusalem as He could see the awful consequences of their rejecting Him as their Messiah, God was crying over the judgment that they must face because of the hardness of their hearts.
E. Jesus was not dying to persuade God to love us, God so loved us He was willing to send His Son, and God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
F. When we stand in the presence of Jesus, we are standing in the presence of God, for in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
G. When I see the life of Jesus, I see absolute righteousness. When I see the death of Jesus, I see substitution. He is not dying for His guilt or sin, He is taking my sin upon Himself and dying in my place. As I see His resurrection, I see how God who is absolute truth has made sin not to be. For the penalty of sin was fully paid in the death. Now in the resurrection there is a new sinless life. As Paul declares in the next chapter,
Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.
III. GOD'S VIEW OF THE WHOLE WORLD.
A. vs.9 "That they are all under sin."
B. vs.10 "There is none righteous, no not one."
C. vs. 11 "There are none who understand, there is none that seek after God."
D. vs. 12 "They have all gone astray, they are all unprofitable, there is none that doeth good."
Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet [are] swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery [are] in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes. vs.19 they are all guilty before God. vs.23 All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No exceptions.
E. To these desperate souls God manifested His righteousness without the law. The righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ.
F. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. vs24
1. Here I am guilty, vile, condemned, hopeless, yet loved by God.
2. Loved so intensely that He desires to have eternal fellowship with me.
3. There is no way that I can possibly atone for my sin. All the good acts that I might try to do will never erase the evil that I have already done.
4. God who is the just judge who sees things as they really are, and acts in accordance, knowing that the law requires death for the sinful deeds took upon Himself the sins, and died as a substitute for me. In so doing He took away my sin, and thus my guilt.
5. Now God can look upon me as though I had never committed any of those infractions of His laws.
6. This He does freely because of His grace and love for me. I an undeserving sinner have been made an heir of His glorious kingdom destined to spend eternity in the splendor of His presence where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
7. You say, "Smith, you are dreaming." If so, please do not wake me up for it is the most glorious dream one could ever have.
8. But it is not a dream, it is a promise, God has given me His word on it.