God gives everyone justice—including Christians. God’s mercy and justice were completely satisfied at the cross, but many people struggle to accept it in their confession of sin. Pastor Lutzer considers the fundamental basis of God’s forgiveness. Would God ever demand a believer to pay the penalty for their sin? Originally Published: July 15, 2019
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Transcript: Hi, welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. So glad that you have joined us today, because we’re discussing the attributes of God. I sure hope that you join us next time, by the way, because we’re going to be discussing justice again, and specifically the doctrine of hell. You don’t wanna miss that.
But today we’re talking about first John chapter one verse nine, which is a passage of Scripture that refers to us as Christians. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a marvelous verse. We’ve all learned it, and we’ve all applied it many many times. But did you notice the phrase, “He is faithful and just?”
Now the point that I want to make is simply this. Sometimes it is said that the wicked receive justice, and we as Christians receive mercy. Of course we receive mercy, but it is a just kind of mercy. And the reason that we can receive mercy is because God’s justice was satisfied on our behalf when Jesus died on the cross. You see, at the cross of Jesus Christ, there were two attributes of God. Love wanted to redeem, and Justice said, “You can’t redeem until it has been paid.” By the way, there were other attributes of God also displayed at the cross, but I’m thinking of those two specifically. And so, once Justice was satisfied, Love and Mercy was free to redeem.
You know, in the movie “The Last Emperor,” the Emperor is of course totally in control. He takes a beautiful vase and throws it down on the floor, and it falls into a thousand pieces and a servant gets whipped. Now in Christianity, it is exactly the opposite, isn’t it? We’re the servants who throw the vase on the floor. We mess up our lives. And the Emperor, God, is the one who gets whipped, so to speak. Jesus dies and bears our punishment, and that is why God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. It is because Justice is fully satisfied.
You know, of course, that when Jesus Christ died on the cross and He made that statement that we’ve all enjoyed and thought about, “It is finished,” He meant “paid in full.” In other words, our debt has been paid. If God should demand that we repay it, that would be injustice. You see the tremendous advantage of understanding the fact that God gives everyone justice. We received justice. It’s just that someone else paid it for us.
You know, back in Scotland in the 1700s, there was a woman by the name of Anne Cousin. She was actually the pastor’s wife, the pastor of a church. And she wrote these beautiful words that I just want us to listen to, and I hope that we are greatly blessed by them, even as I have been blessed by them.
“O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head;
our load was laid on Thee.
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead;
didst bear all ill for me.
Death and the curse were in our cup;
O Christ, ‘twas full for Thee.
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop;
‘tis empty now for me.”
The apostle Paul says that is a result of Jesus Christ’s death, God can be just, and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus. What a marvelous example of God’s grace. And if you, today, have never taken advantage of what Jesus did on behalf of sinners, I urge you to come Him to receive His gift, and you’ll discover that the judgment of God has already been paid for you.
And please, I hope that you are able to join us next time because I’m gonna be speaking about the difficult doctrine of hell and the justice of God. Today, rejoice in Jesus Christ and His mercy toward us, and go with God, and I certainly hope that you’ll join us here next time.