God’s justice and mercy under the new covenant
Yesterday we talked about how sin broke our perfect holy relationship with God, the same way a child breaks a window. We discussed that while justice and mercy were consistent in the old testament as well as in the new, since there is only one God and He is unchanging, the “fix” under the old testament was insufficient. A patch was put in place, but it wasn’t a fix. We simply did not have the means to pay the price of the fix.
You see, the price of the repair was one perfect life, lived, and laid down in perfect, full, and holy obedience. Only one man has ever lived such a life, and He is who starts the New Testament and the New Covenant.
By Jesus’ work, through His entire life, to deny temptation, to resist sin, culminating first in His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, Jesus fully paid the price to restore the perfect holy relationship between God and mankind.
By accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as the offering made for you, and agreeing to come under Him as your savior, you are not held responsible for the broken relationship, no payment is required and the relationship is restored. Jesus perfectly repairs the broken glass on both sides of the window (God’s side and Man’s side).
Standing firm in resolve to not accept Jesus is to be, as my grandmother would have said, “way too big for your britches” and “your mouth is writing checks you cannot cash”. If we deny to accept Jesus, then we tell God, we think the mud we flung up in the window is sufficient repair. It is not only wrong, but it is insulting. God, in mercy, holds back wrath even on these people, but only for a time.
In the final days, when Jesus comes again, He will come again to set things right. He will wash the window of our spiritual relationship clean with the full power of God’s wrath. All the mud and dirt will be removed and the window will once again sparkle as new. But those who want to be judged by the dirt they produced, will no longer receive mercy and payment for sin will be required. It is a payment that can never be fulfilled without Jesus, so they agonize forever in the debtor’s prison of Hell.
While this sounds horrible, it is what they want and choose, because the offer to accept Jesus’ payment was never rescinded. Also, the removal of sin from the world, something that only makes sense to do along with a restriction on new sin entering, is something we who have accepted Jesus’ gift long for.
Don’t you want to see the beauty in the perfectly restored window of the perfectly restored relationship with God? When John talks about the entire sea of glass before the throne alight with fire, this is what I think of. No dings, not cracks, no smudges, no blurs, no imperfection of any kind, no dirt, no mud, no dust – a perfect shining brilliantly, like it is on fire, reflection of the perfectly restored relationship.
While we were sinners (i.e., did nothing to earn it), Christ died for us. We are justified by His blood (found not-guilty) and saved from wrath through Him and reconciled to God. On our own merits we deserve death but instead we are made alive in Christ, given a new life, a new body, a new spirit for eternity
Christ bore our sins. He, who was perfect, was not compelled to die – it was not a just sentence for Him since He was free of all transgression. So, He did not suffer and die for His own sins, but for ours. The fact that He paid the price is a ticket that He need not use but gives as a gift to each of us if only we accept it.
humility, love, sacrifice, not conforming to the pattern of the world but being transformed to become holy, to be honest with God and ourselves, to confess our sins and truly repent (which includes change)