Both justice and mercy for the guilty?
Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’
Galatians 3:11 (ESV)
This verse holds the greatest, most marvelous truth for all of us. In this verse, there is hope for everyone, no matter the situation or circumstance. God in His love for all mankind has provided eternal life in heaven as a gift. There is nothing anyone has to do to have this gift other than receive it by faith. How is it possible that a Holy God would offer eternity in heaven to all even though Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned.” God’s Holiness and sin cannot coexist. This one verse, and many others in the Bible, tell us how this is possible.
The solution is found in the word “justified.” The apostle Paul is using a legal word to properly explain what God has done for humanity. God our Creator is also God our ultimate Judge. Man’s first sin has carried the death sentence for all of mankind. That death sentence is both a physical death and a spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God.
God is just and therefore justice must be served. God’s mercy cannot override God’s justice. God’s perfect plan has satisfied both His mercy and His justice. The sentence for sin must be death. God’s mercy sent his Son Jesus to carry out the death sentence that all mankind deserve. Eternal Jesus became man, born without sin, for the sole purpose of “becoming sin” to meet the requirements of God’s justice by taking man’s death penalty when He died on the cross. Those who believe and accept God’s gift receive full acquittal. God declares the guilty, “not guilty” because Jesus paid our death penalty. Justice has been served. The case is closed. God’s law has been fulfilled. This justification is only accomplished by faith in Christ. No one is justified by keeping the law because no one can keep the law. No one is acquitted on his or her own merits. All are condemned to die. But because Jesus died for all, then all who believe are released from the death sentence and are no longer counted as guilty.
This week, if you have never accepted Jesus, place your faith in Him and you will be counted as righteous before God.