In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Recently we’ve learnt about the covenant of grace by which God forgives sin and grants eternal life through the mediator Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully human. We’ve seen that the mediator had to be God to escape death and give worth and efficacy to his obedience. This week I want to show you that the mediator had to be God to satisfy God’s justice.
When humans sin they become objects of God’s wrath. When speaking of sinful humans, Paul says: ‘All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath’ (Ephesians 2:3).
But why is God wrathful toward sinners? Isn’t God a God of love? Yes. But God teaches us he is both loving and just. He cannot let injustice go unpunished. Exodus says: ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands,
and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished’ (Exodus 34:6-7).
So how can God show mercy and satisfy his justice at the same time? By sending someone who can pay for the sins of others. And to withstand the wrath of God for many people that person had to be someone of great value – in fact, they would have to be God too.
And thankfully that is who Jesus is, the one who satisfies God’s wrath for sin and so God can justly pardon sinners. Paul says: ‘God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus’ (Romans 3:25-26). If we have faith in Jesus, God’s wrath is satisfied for us. We are no longer objects of God’s wrath, we are objects of his grace and will go on to inherit eternal life.
Have you trusted in Christ so the wrath of God is satisfied for you?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.