The Vindication of God

Romans 3:24-26

24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Have you ever seen a parent tell their child that if they don’t do such and such then there will be consequences. And you kind of smile inside because you have heard that all before. And you know that the parent will never stick to their promise. Now let me ask you a question. Are they just bad parents, or are they liars, or are they just very forgiving parents? Now if you are one then you sure don’t think you are a liar. And you would not admit to being a poor parent. So you must just be very forgiving.

I think that is how most people see God. He makes all these big statements about judgment on sin and how we had better measure up. But we all know that God is just a big softy and will let it all slide in the end. I mean look at our nation. We murder 44,000,000,000 babies and God doesn’t do anything about it. We call every sort of sexual deviancy normal and legal and we even say that God made them that way, and God doesn’t do anything about it. We forget God’s worship and never read His word much less try to obey it and God does nothing. See, we knew that He wouldn’t.

But that all is really not true. In the Old Testament, many people accused God of just such things. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he knew that God would not destroy them if they repented. And Jonah wanted them destroyed, and for good reason. Assyria someday would destroy and carry captive all of the ten northern tribes of Israel.

David wondered why the wicked still prospered if God was so holy and just. How could God allow all the wicked to be wicked and God still allow them to also prosper? Ps 94:3 How long will the wicked triumph? NKJV

Notice Job’s complaint in Job 12:6 The tents of robbers prosper, And those who provoke God are secure — In what God provides by His hand. NKJV

Habakkuk makes this plea to the Lord. “O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You,"Violence!" And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds. 1:2-4 NKJV Later he again brings his plea to God. Hab 1:13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he? NKJV

But we know that if God should mark our sins, then none of us could stand before Him. Ps 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? NKJV

So which is it? Is God just a liar who will never do what He said, that was just to scare us? Or is God just a really nice guy who will let most anything slide? Or is it that God just can’t get it all together, demanding from us things that He will never finally require?

Paul answers that question in our passage for today.

I.         A little review.

            A.        We are justified

                        1.         freely

                        2.         by His grace

                        3.         through the redemption

                        4.         that is in Christ Jesus,

            B.        whom God set forth as a propitiation

                        1.         by His blood,

                        2.         through faith

II.        To demonstrate His righteousness

            A.        Those are the very next words.

                        1.         It is by His blood through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness.

            B.        He repeats that twice, for emphasis.

                        1.         26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness

                        2.         Whatever else God is He is righteous.

                        3.         Nothing God does will ever take away from His righteousness.

            C.        In reality to vindicate God’s justice.

                        1.         The question that has often been asked is reflected in the words of Job.

                                    a.          Job 9:32-35 32 "For He is not a man, as I am, That I may answer Him, And that we should go to court together. 33 Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both. 34 Let Him take His rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me. 35 Then I would speak and not fear Him, But it is not so with me. NKJV

                                    b.         How can God deal with sinners, and still be holy.

                                    c.         Is it that we are not quite sinful or is it that God is not quite holy?

                        2.         In our text this morning, Paul has told us that God vindicates His holiness.

III.       Passing by the transgressions

            A.        Anyone can see that God has passed by the transgression of the world.

                        1.         Paul has particular attention to the Old Testament dispensation.

                        2.         Since the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, (Heb. 10:4) how is it that a holy God could allow som many to go unpunished in the OT.

            B.        There is a sense that in order for God to accomplish His plan of redemption He must pass over sins.

                        1.         If He had not, Adam and Eve would needs die the moment of their sin.

                        2.         God would have mankind at most any time.

            C.        Paul preached about this in Acts 17 as we read this morning.

                        1.         Acts 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, NKJV

                        2.         Since there is no animal sacrifice that can remove sin, God overlooked it.

                        3.         But He would not do that forever.

                        4.         And His justice necessitated that a satisfactory sacrifice be made.

            D.        In order for God to accomplish His plan to redeem a people out of this world, He continues to overlook sin, but He will not do that forever.

                        1.         1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

                        2.         Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all but efficient only to those who have faith in Jesus.

            E.        This is not talking about remission of sins as the KJV has it.

                        1.         Remission is much different that a pardon, or remission.

                        2.         God simply chose to not bring judgment when it was due, but delayed that time of judgment until He accomplished His over all plan.

IV.      Just and the Justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.

            A.        The problem arises, how can God justify the guilty and still be just.

                        1.         As we have said before, that doesn’t seem fair.

                        2.         Regardless of repentance, or faith, those guilty must face judgment if God is holy.

            B.        The solution is found in verse 25 of our text.

            C.        God has met His own requirements by sending Jesus to earth as a human to suffer in our place.

            D.        Jesus made a full satisfaction, propitiation.

            E.        Our debt is paid, we are not debtors any longer.

            F.        God has placed our sins on Jesus and has placed the righteousness of Jesus Christ on us.

                        1.         2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. KJV

                        2.         1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree , that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. KJV

                        3.         Phil 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: KJV

            G.        Paul is telling us that in that Jesus suffered the sin of the believer, God is vindicated.

                        1.         No one can say God is soft on sin.

                        2.         No one can say that sin is not a big deal with God.

                        3.         God’s great wrath toward sin is seen more in the death of His Son than in the destruction of a whole world of sinners.

                        4.         God is vindicated as true, He does hate sin and will not allow it to go unpunished.

V.        Faith In Jesus

            A.        Finally, Paul says of God that he did all this because he is just, and accepts as just all who believe in Jesus. Paul never said a more startling thing than this. Bengel called it "the supreme paradox of the gospel." Think what it means. It means that God is just and accepts the sinner as a just man. The natural thing to say would be, "God is just, and, therefore, condemns the sinner as a criminal." But here we have the great paradox--God is just, and somehow, in that incredible, miraculous grace that Jesus came to bring to men, he accepts the sinner, not as a criminal, but as a son whom he still loves. Barclay

            B.        Is all your faith in Jesus Christ?

            C.        God has provided for you to be declared righteous.

            D.        Will you put your faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ?