“Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth … to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins … that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).
These Scriptures show that justification is the divine plan of mercy and love whereby God, through the work of Christ, can acquit and justify a guilty transgressor, and at the same time acquit and justify Himself. In this way, the justified person is given a righteous standing before God, and God has no complicity with guilt or sin, and no laxity as to his inviolable law.
This side of justification is habitually overlooked. In pardoning sin, the holiness of God is in danger of compromise. In the loose notions of forgiveness now prevalent, there is a tendency to magnify love at the expense of belittling righteousness. The certainty that every transgression and disobedience receives its just recompense of reward is part of the perfection of God and His government. Laxity of administration imperils the foundations of society. Hence, if God justifies the sinner, it must be in such a way as to justify Himself. His justice must not suffer for the sake of His mercy.
Here lies the glory of God’s justification. It provides that law, justice, and the character of God are absolutely safe. Penalty is borne and exhausted by the death of the sinless Substitute, satisfying the demands of justice. God’s hatred of sin is no less manifest in the sacrifice of His dear Son than it would be in all transgressors receiving their full recompense. No one can say, in view of Calvary, that sin is a light matter to God.
—Arthur T. Pierson