Yes my friends, he's back! After a long period of settling down in my new college environment, I have finally made it back to the blogging world. I'm having a great time, but life keeps me busy, so I'm not sure how often updates will be coming. I'd like for them to be at least once a week, but I make no guarantees. I have an insanely massive Odds and Ends post that's been collecting for two or three months now, so I might actually break it up into two, but until that time, enjoy this little reflection I wrote this morning as a meditation on a verse first brought to my attention by John Piper at New Attitude.
In reflecting on God's glory (his favorite topic), John Piper directed our attentions to Romans 3:21-25, a wonderful passage that dwells on man's depravity, Christ's sacrifice, and our justification. As I was looking at the passage in my Bible, however, I noticed the very next verse, and it absolutely floored me:
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.
Just and the Justifier. What does that mean?
God is perfect and holy in his whole being. Holiness is the sum total of all his attributes; he is separate and apart from his creation. Sin cannot enter his presence, for it is absolutely antithetical to his character. He is completely just, and must punish sin fully and completely. For him not to punish sin and still bring the sinner into fellowship with himself would be an offense to his character, and demonstrate that he is not truly just. In other words, for him to be loving and not just would mean that he is not God. He would be fallible. He would be a disgrace to himself.
Yet God loves us, and he desires to be in fellowship with us. But how can he do that when we are sinful, and cannot possibly pay for our own sins? We can never enter his presence, because everything we do is an affront to God, a direct act of rebellion. Yet God made a way: he sent his own Son to die on the cross for our sins, bearing the full wrath of God against our sins. He, as the previous verses say, "put forward [Christ] as a propitiation by his blood." And now, we humans can put on Christ's righteousness and enter God's presence without fear, because we have been justified. God has justified us, and reconciled us to himself.
And herein lies the beauty of this verse: it captures this essence in just one phrase: "so that he might be just and the justifier." Christ came to show that God is both just and loving at the same time; only God could have come up with a plan that would present him as just and the justifier at the same time. What a glorious mystery this is!He is utterly holy, and yet stoops down to associate with vile sinners such as me, who have scorned him and rebelled against him. He pays for the offenses we have leveled at him with his own blood, and reconciles us to himself forever. What a glorious God we serve!