Just, and the justifier of him which believeth. — Rom 3:26
“Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of His people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell.
It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just. We feel that it must be so and this gives us terror at first. But it is marvelous, that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace!
If God is just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished. But Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just—I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished! God must change His nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer—having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that His people ought to have suffered as the result of sin—the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for He has justified! Not Christ, for He has died, “yes rather has risen again.”
My hope is sure and steadfast—because I am a sinner for whom Christ died! My trust is not that I am holy but that being unholy, Jesus is my righteousness! My faith does not rest upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice—the fair maid of hope rides like a queen!
Who of God is made unto us wisdom. — 1 Cor 1:30
Man’s intellect seeks after rest, and by nature seeks it apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Men of education are apt, even when converted, to look upon the simplicities of the cross of Christ with an eye too little reverent and loving. They are snared in the old net in which the Grecians were taken, and have a hankering to mix philosophy with Scriptural revelation. The temptation with a man of refined thought and high education, is to depart from the simple truth of Christ crucified, and to invent, as the term is, a more intellectual doctrine. This led the early Christian churches into Gnosticism, and bewitched them with all sorts of heresies. This is the root of Neology, and the other fine things which in days gone by were so fashionable in Germany, and are now so ensnaring to certain classes of divines.
Whoever you are, good reader, and whatever your education may be, if you are the Lord’s, be assured you will find no rest in philosophizing divinity. You may receive this dogma from one great thinker, or that dream from another profound reasoner but what the chaff is to the wheat—that will these be to the pure Word of God. All that human reason, when best guided, can find out—are but the A B C’s of truth; and even that lacks certainty, while in Christ Jesus there is treasured up all the fullness of wisdom and knowledge.
All attempts on the part of Christians to be content with systems such as Unitarian and Broad-church thinkers would approve of, must fail. True heirs of heaven must come back to the grandly simple reality, which makes the ploughboy’s eye flash with joy, and gladdens the pious pauper’s heart, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!” Jesus satisfies the most elevated intellect when He is believingly received but apart from Him the mind of the regenerate discovers no rest. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” “A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.”