Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Gospel: God's Glory & Man's Humilitaion

*This Sermon was preached last month at the GBCB Youth Camp*


“In His divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” These are the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 3:25. This is a reference to God’s dealings with human beings before Christ. We spoke yesterday about the justification, redemption, and propitiation that are found in Christ, but what about those who were before Christ. Paul tells us that God passed over, or overlooked sin. God postponed the full penalty of sins previous to the cross allowing certain sinners to stand before Him without an adequate satisfaction for His holy justice. This poses a serious theological problem! Most people see Hell as a problem saying something to the effect of “How could a loving God send someone to Hell?” The problem is not Hell, the problem is forgiveness. How can a perfect and righteous God who is supposed to be the perfect and righteous judge of the universe just over look sin. If we had a judge letting rapists, and murders back onto the streets there would be a public uproar. However, this is exactly what God did in 2 Samuel 12:13. David looked upon another man’s wife, took that woman for himself, and sent her husband out to die. Yet, the Lord put away his sin, and he did not die. How can this be? How could God just overlook this sin? Not only is God just overlooking sins, He is also ignoring the dishonor showed to Him by men. In doing this it seems as though He is condoning men in their esteeming of themselves to be more trustworthy in their judgment than God. It is almost as if God is allowing Himself to be more lowly than His own creation. Basically, it is as if God is saying that it doesn’t matter. “But for God thus to deny the infinite value of his glory, to act persistently as if the disgrace of his holy name were a matter of indifference to him- this is the heart of unrighteousness. This if God is to be righteous e must repair the dishonor done to his name by the sins of those whom he blesses. He must magnify the divine glory man thought to deny Him.”1



To find the answer to our theological problem we must look carefully at vv. 25-26. The first thing that we must see in these verses is that the righteousness that Paul speak of here is different from the righteousness mentioned in v. 21. This righteousness does not refer to the righteousness that God has made available to men through Christ. Rather, this righteousness refers to the righteous character of God Himself. I would define this righteousness as God’s commitment to His glory, and absolute faithfulness to act for His name’s sake (More on this to come). In vv. 21-25a we saw the righteousness of God manifest through Christ, and made available to men. Here we see God’s righteousness displayed, but how? Basically, what we see here is God’s actions in passing over sins previously committed being justified. Here again, this justification is different from what we saw in v. 24. This justification is not man’s justification from sin, but God being justified in justifying. God showed that he was not unjust in his forgiveness of the OT saints when he sent Christ to be the sacrifice for all the saints. This public display of Christ’s sacrifice demonstrates that God was righteous all along in his forbearance. In fact, what we see is that God exercised his forbearance in light of the certainty of the sacrifice of Christ. It all began in Genesis 3:15 when, instead of killing Adam and Eve right there on the spot, God gave mankind the hope of salvation. As we saw yesterday all throughout the OT we can find the foreshadowing of Christ sacrifice. Look at v. 26. God sent Christ, at the perfect time, so that he might demonstrate His perfect righteous justice, and at the same time justify the ungodly through faith. This was the twofold purpose of Christ’s work. When we understand how truly amazing God’s purpose in Christ death was we are left with the question why would God go to such great lengths to set apart for Himself a redeemed people?


1. Piper, John. The Justification of God, 1993, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul,
You stated,
"God postponed the full penalty of sins previous to the cross allowing certain sinners to stand before Him without an adequate satisfaction for His holy justice. This poses a serious theological problem! Most people see Hell as a problem saying something to the effect of 'How could a loving God send someone to Hell?' "

Since I am born again and I am saved eternally then there really is not an issue with sin in my life?

Fred in Fresno

16/7/06 10:22 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Fred,

This quote references God's dealings with OT saints. That is, His forgiveness of men before Christ. My point, and I would like to think Paul's in this text, was that from a human perspective God passed over these sins on the basis of nothing. This is the theological problem that I refer to. From a divine perspective, however, God passed over these sins based on the future sacrifice of Christ. This solves the theological problem.

Also, this is God's dealing with sin in a forensic sense. Which means that if one is truly a believer God has declared his sins to be atoned for, and a propitiatory sacrifice to be made in his place. From that perspective sin is not an issue. But that does not take away the struggle that you might have with sin. This side of glory we will all struggle with our evil tendencies. Just look at Paul in Romans 7:14ff. He did that which he did not want to do.

I hope that this cleared up my previous statement. I am not sure if I answered your question, or not. I had a little trouble understanding where you were going (the inherent shortcomings of this type of communication).

17/7/06 8:33 AM  

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