When Adam and Eve first sinned, they were condemned to die for in God’s government “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze. 18:4). But why is the punishment for sin so serious? It is so serious because of the Holiness of the One we are rebelling against.
God is love (1 John 4:8) and His mercy is great (Ephesians 2:4). But He is also just (Psalm 25:8) and in order to uphold His attributes of holiness and justice, He must judge and punish sin (Num. 14:18; Nah. 1:3). A good judge will never just forgive the offender but will also seek justice. God could not just forgive sin without administering the punishment of death on man for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
But instead of the sinner dying according to God’s law, Jesus offered Himself to die on his behalf. At the cross, we see God both as the “just and the justifier” (Matt. 27:33–35; Rom. 3:26). God Himself carried our sins “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no greater love than this that someone will die for those whom he loves (John 15:13). Thus, God’s Love and justice were fully satisfied at the cross.
But God can’t not forgive our sins unless we claim the blood of Jesus as our substitute. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). The decisive factor in salvation lies with us.
The life and death of Jesus proved forever how God regarded sin (2 Cor. 5:19). It showed forever God’s infinite love for all His creatures, a love that could not only forgive, but could also win fallen sinners to surrender and by His grace yield perfect obedience (Romans 1:5).
God’s plan of salvation would not only make it possible to pardon and restore sinners but would also demonstrate for all ages to come the absolute perfection of His own character and the complete union of justice and love in the divine government (Psalm 116:5).
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In His service,
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