Justice satisfied

The events in the life of Jesus Christ climaxed when the religious and the secular cooperated together to end His life, hating His purity and His genuine love for His Father and all men. We have already seen that death is the penalty for sin. What then if one who is not guilty of a failure to love both God and men as they should suffered as a sinner, losing their life without just cause? First, we see a fulfilment of that prophetic picture of an innocent animal dying and shedding its blood in order to provide a covering for sinful humans. Secondly, if today someone pays a debt they do not owe but does so in the name of the one who cannot pay it, that debt is settled. This is why Jesus was prepared to die even though He had never rebelled against His Father. He knew eternal justice was much more reliable than human justice. His love for His Father gave Him confidence that His sacrifice would not be in vain. By laying down His life, He knew that He could make possible once again the fellowship between God and Man which had been squandered through Adam’s sin.

A New Testament author explains that through one man (Adam) sin came into creation and hot on its heels came death, which has since spread to everyone. Then they show that Adam's situation finds a parallel in Jesus Christ. Just as Adam’s reward for sin spread from one man to all, so too the free gift of the grace obtained through Jesus Christ is also made available to many. Imagine the rebellion of Adam and everyone after him who has failed to love The LORD their God with all their being on one side of the scales of justice - what could be found to counterbalance that? To some it will seem too simple, but we read, “by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” because, “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”. The result being “that, as sin had power in death, so grace might have power through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Because the God who placed us on this earth is righteous, He had to make sure that justice was satisfied and not simply sweep our sins under some divine carpet, to emerge in the future. As He gave one of His own animals to provide a physical covering for sinful Adam, so He gave His own Son to settle our eternal debt with His own life. When Jesus cried out as He was being crucified, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, He was doing far more than quoting the beginning of a psalm written by His ancestor King David. The previous three hours from noon that day had been completely dark. This darkness reflected the darkness which Jesus was experiencing as He was out of contact with His Father for the first and only time. Having taken upon Himself the guilt of human sin, His Father had to turn away from the Son He greatly loved. At the end of those three hours, Jesus could bear the loneliness no more and cried out to His Father. David’s prophetic psalm foretold the emotions Jesus would endure at Calvary - the descent into despair, the pain, then the confident cry of victory. The last words of Jesus before He died are often translated, “It is finished!” These are found at the end of that same psalm. They are not the words of a man losing hope as he takes his final breath, but rather a cry of victory and praise that the job is done - His Father “has accomplished it!”

Through the death of His beloved Son, God the Father made it possible for people like you and me not to be trapped any longer by the power and guilt of sin. Our failure to love as He has commanded us no longer has the authority to keep its claws in us. Jesus became the innocent one who suffered the consequences of the guilty, in a full expression of the Godhead’s sacrificial love for the people they had created together. In so doing, He opened up the way to restore friendship with His Father for those who were excluded from it. He did this knowing that if we live this life isolated from our Creator, then that is how we will spend eternity. Father, Son and Spirit had worked together in creation with the long-term view that the Father should have many sons like Jesus in eternity. To be like God the Son, these new children would have to freely choose to love God the Father in the same way as He did. Adam was the first to squander that opportunity; Jesus was the only man not to have followed in Adam’s footsteps. The rest of us have found ourselves dragged along in Adam’s wake, unable to rescue ourselves. Now that our sins have been atoned for by Christ’s death, the opportunity for us to choose to love The LORD as we should is once again available to us. The salvation He has made available will not be forced on anyone; we still have to freely choose to accept His grace towards us and appeal to Him to salvage us from the ruin we are used to living in.

Making this appeal is your choice, as it always has been. No one, not even God Himself, can make it for you. You are in the privileged position of being able to make that choice yourself. No matter how obvious it seems to you that calling upon Him for help is the only sensible option, doing so is not usually easy. The rest of Journey into New Life seeks to guide you through the initial steps described in the Bible for those who wish to turn off the broad, busy motorway used by the majority onto the narrow and difficult road which Jesus took.

Next: The narrow entrance and the difficult path

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