By Heath Jarrett
How can God who is all good reconcile the ungodly and still remain good? This is the crux of Christianity, the conundrum of humanity.
Think about it. Does a good judge acquit the guilty? Oh, how we hate injustice! Every day evil prowls, and we cry out for justice. Where is it?
But how quickly we also are indicted before the court of heaven. We are the guilty. We are the ungodly. We are the enemy. And that's who Jesus came to save.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6–8).
God broadcasts his love for us, not by overlooking our sin, but by judging it in staggering drama. His justice, poised ready to fall on you fell upon his Son.
But we still have this Gordian knot to unravel. How can God punish the innocent instead of the guilty? How can he declare us to be righteous when we are not? Someone has to pay. Scripture is clear that the justice of God allows a substitute to take our place. Either we die or someone dies in our place.
This is justice: God exchanged his Son for his enemies, unloading his righteous wrath for us onto Christ. And there's more. God replaces our condemnation with Christ's righteousness. Therefore God justly pronounces us righteous on account of our substitute. (Paul calls this justification.)
Christ gets death, you get life. The exchange goes both ways (Rom 5:15–19; 2 Cor 5:21).
“Since therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:9–10).
Dear Christian, when God looks at you, he sees his Son. You go free because Christ died for you. Justice is never compromised.
Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You*
*Lyrics from the song Jesus, Thank You by Pat Sczebel