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Romans 3:26

Romans 3:26
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Romans 3:26, “…it was to show God’s righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

In reading through Romans 3 this morning I was once again struck by how Paul emphasizes what the cross tells us about GOD as primary. Yes, the cross achieves our righteousness before God, deals with our sin, absorbs God’s holy anger against us, yes and amen, that is immeasurably important! BUT–all of that is telling us something ABOUT GOD….as always in scripture, redemption serves revelation, and that is nowhere more true than at the cross.

In Romans 3:25-26, Paul explains that–by absorbing God’s wrath against all the God-belittling sins of His people–Jesus was communicating (and vindicating) the righteousness of God. And what is God’s righteousness? Without going into too much detail, God’s righteousness is essentially His alignment with the right ordering of reality, a reality that exists for the glory of God (Rom.11:36)…..except, God does not align with any standard outside Himself. Thus for God to be righteous is for God to be 100% FOR GOD….that is to say, for God to love God with all of His heart, mind, soul, and strength, for God to know and value Himself as supreme and before all else….THAT is God’s righteousness (and indeed, that is very close to the heart of who God is).

So, the cross reveals the righteousness of God by showing how horrific sin against His glory is, and how seriously He takes it…..serious enough to be damned, as it were–in the incarnate Son–in order to punish the sin and thus reveal the worth of His Name…..And since God the Son bears our sin and punishment IN HIMSELF, God is able to be BOTH Just (that is, hold invincibly to the supreme worth of his Name) and the Justifier of those who have known and loved God in Christ (that is, sovereignly count them to be right with Him)…..in other words, He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin, BUT by no means clears the guilty (Ex.34:7).

Thus, the cross not only saves the one who has faith in Jesus, it also definitively reveals to us the character, the Name, the glory of the Righteous God whom we were saved in order to see.