Friends: Today’s DL is full of golden nuggets. Eat, digest, let them marinate down into your spiritual marrow ‘so that’ the truth will empower you to share this good news with others. 😊 dh
Did God Break the Law for Love?
Taken from an article by Jared C. Wilson, Author, Blog Writer
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. — Romans 3:26
See, many people tend to think that when the Father sent the Son to die on the cross to forgive sins, he was in some sense “breaking the law.” That line of thinking lends to the idea that…’because of Jesus, God is letting our law-breaking somehow slide.’
The god preached in this kind of scenario is really the false god of antinomianism (“against the law”) because he can only forgive sins by in some way compromising his holiness. In other words, he sort of tips the scales towards his mercy and away from his righteousness. A lot of Christians tend to think of God’s work like that — as if, with Jesus, he’s kind of bending the rules. He sacrifices one part of his self (holiness) in order that we might take advantage of another (love).
But the one true God does not compromise one bit. He bends no rules! In fact, he punishes every single sin. Not a single sin throughout all of history slips through the cracks.
So how can he forgive sinners like us while maintaining the perfection of his holiness? He puts our sin on Jesus Christ.
God has declared that he will by no means clear the guilty (Nahum 1:3). So he instead makes guilty people righteous! But to do this in a way that is just, he must make a righteous person guilty. And he accomplishes this, the Bible reveals, by punishing our sin by punishing his son Jesus.
In this way, all sin is accounted for. Whether by the wrath of hell or by the wrath of the cross, every single sin is accounted for. And in this way, the grace of God is revealed. Christians therefore believe that if anyone wants to stand before a holy God and be declared holy enough to escape judgment, they must reject trusting in their own good works and instead accept the good works of Jesus Christ as their own.
The cross of Jesus Christ, then, shows us how God is both perfectly holy and perfectly loving, simultaneously and totally just and yet totally gracious. He doesn’t bend any rules or break any laws, as the spirit of antinomianism would suggest. It is in fact through the very cross of Christ that God, according to the Apostle Paul, “showed his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
The Christian God is both just and justifier, and he does his justifying as an act of sheer grace, forgiving sinners not by their obedience (because they could never obey well enough) but by Christ’s obedience, which is perfect and thus perfectly fulfills the perfectly holy law of God.
In fact, when you do a bit of “reverse engineering” on the atonement knowing this, you can see that in fact it wouldn’t be very loving at all for God to have broken his own laws to save us. Because an atonement made by a law not perfectly kept is no atonement at all. If God broke his law to save me, I am not saved, because what is needed is perfection. It would not be perfectly loving for our holy God to apply to me an imperfect atonement! But in fact the gospel announces not just that my sins are forgiven, but that I am counted righteous in Christ.
I have received the righteousness of Christ, which means that’s his perfect obedience to the law of God is considered as my own perfect obedience to the law of God. That’s how gracious God is! He has broken antinomianism for love.
And now, in the spirit of this grace, I pursue obedience of God with gratitude and freedom and joy — not because I am saved by my righteousness but because, in a sense, I am saved from it.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. — Matthew 5:17
Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church.