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Justice and Mercy

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We have the great pleasure of continuing to seek God out through His word. As we read and listen to Him who has revealed His truth to us.
Please stand and turn to
I want to read to you guys some lyrics to a wonderful song.
In Christ alone, who took on flesh Fullness of God in helpless babe This gift of love and righteousness Scorned by the ones He came to save 'Til on that cross as Jesus died The wrath of God was satisfied For every sin on Him was laid Here in the death of Christ I live
This song was written in 2001 by an Irishman and an Englishman. It quickly became popular and just about every hymnal that was updated after the year 2005 added this song to its hymnal.
After the songs release, it has been re-done by many of todays leading christian artists such as the newsboys. It is one of my personal favorites as well. To be honest, any song by the Gettys, Kieth and his wife krysten write and preform music together, any song they do I absolutely love.
The fact that they are from irland, brings a celtic sound along with the Irish accent, it is just wonderful music to listen to.
Well, in 2013 this hymn was in the spotlight. The Presbyterian Church USA, a highly liberal Presbyterian branch, wanted to keep the song in their new hymnal that they were in the process of updating but they wanted to change some lyrics.
And they got a big fat no. They said absolutly not. The PCUSA asked why not, celebrating grace baptist hymnal has the change, why cant we.
Well it turns out that the editors for the celebrating grace baptist hymnal did not have that permission and now they are in danger of a major copy right issue.
Publishers do not want a copy right legal issue on their hands and they pay a lot of money to make sure that what they produce has no copyright laws. They dropped the ball on this one I guess.
I do not know if this is true or not, but i think the publisher not only corrected the issue but also offered to replace all the ones they have sold just to avoid legal action. I read that they were in the process of doing that but I do not know if it was fully done.
The line in question, on that cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. What they wanted to change it to was on that cross where Jesus died, the love of God was magnified.
Well, they were accused of trying to take out Gods wrath. To which the PCUSA replied, no, we have plenty of wrath in our hymns, it is the word satisfied we have a problem with. This means the lyric comes too close to God killed Jesus.
That is how it was said, it comes to close to God killed Jesus. Well, What we have here is a negative sentance structure that is often used when one is trying to manipulate.
It puts a person in a state of fear, fearing that it may be seen that they agree with the horrific statement. For example, if there was a politician that I just dispised, and i was talking to someone who didnt feel the same way as I do. I could say something along the lines of that man is like hilter, would you vote for hitler.
This manipulation, that is highly effective even though my example may have been silly, is happening right before our eyes. It right now it is being done or said in the name pf racisim. While I do acknowledge that rasicim is active and have been the subject of it in the past, I also can say that a lot of manipulation is being done in the name of racism and people fear being labled that.
Likewise, people do not like the way the PCUSA phrased what they think the word satisfied means. That it comes too close to saying God killed Jesus. I have a couple of questions.
Did the Father send the Son? Did Jesus pray take this cup from me, but not will be done but yours? Did Jesus warn his disciples that his time was coming? Did he not say at the last supper one of you will betray me? Did he not tell Judas what you do, do quickly?
And after the life and death of Jesus, Peter preached a little sermon and said something that sermon that sounds a bit shocking to some ears.
Acts 2:23 NASB95
this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
Well according to this verse, Jesus going to the cross was in fact the predetermined plan of God. So while nobody wants to get on board with the PCUSA way of saying it, the scriptures are clear, the cross was the plan of God.
The text we are looking at today discusses the wrath and justice of God and we will discuss what satisfied means. So lets unpack our text for today.
Romans 3:25 NASB95
whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
We have some debates over this verse we have to get through. The first discussion, and it is a short one, is the statement displayed publicly. Not every translation states it that way because it is one of those verbs that have multiple meanings.
It is the same idea behind all these meanings and context is what helps us best translated it. So say presented, others prefer put forward though that does not fit in the context. Some want to translate it to set before the mind and some want to translate it to purpose.
But the context and the form of the word is used as an accomplishment, so we have to loot at the subject of the text to find out whose accomplishment, and that is God.
We see whom God right at the beginning of the verse. It is Gods actions and we cannot void that, with that, and the words to follow, this verb could be translated multiple ways but three ways it should be taken.
One of them is the translation I am reading from, displayed publicly. It could also be made known or demonstrate. Set forth is another one but then you begin to take way the meaning.
The idea is that God, who is the subject here, made a display for all to see. Now we are talking about the cross here. The display is Jesus on the cross. Paul is probably the most cross centered theologian of the New Testament.
As we are talking about justification, atonement, salvation in general, you should always be thinking the cross. This is the public act that was displayed and that is the other thing that has to be communicated about this verb.
No matter how you translate it, weather it is made known, or set before the mind, the verb always, always, always means in the public eye. Whatever it made know, using this verb means in the public eye.
Which is what the NASB, the translation I am reading from, makes clear. it is a public act by God. Ok, our next obstical is in the word Propitiation. Not every translation uses that word.
The KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV use the word probitiation but the NIV and the NLT do not. It is a very difficult word to translate because it is exact meaning is mercy seat.
The Mercy seat was the cover to the ark of the covenant that blood was sprinkled by the high priest the one time a year he was allowed to go in.
But paul is not trying to give us an OT image, if so, he would have told us, He always refrences his OT images. The word also became known as Propitiation and over time there was an official word used for the word propitaition this greek word used here and now is its root word.
John wineds up using the agmented version of the word in his epistle affirming Propitiation as sound Doctrine. Now we are talking about nouns here, both the debated word in Romans and the one used by John come from the verb which mean propitiation.
I will explain propitiantion here in a second, let me tell you what other think in should mean, they think is should be translated as expiation. Because if the word means mercy seat that is how we should understand mercy.
Notice how I said they said that is how we should understand mercy. Expiation is a forgive and forget. That God forgives sins and does not requrie an answer for them.
Propitiation means a price paid to someone who has been wronged. Or it Refers to effecting the removal of an offense from an offended party’s consideration.
And mercy is most certanly the center of the word. The problem is that it is not mercy the way these people want mercy.
Which is the right definition? When we come to Jesus and asked to be forgiven of our sins, does God forgive and forget. Does he act as if we never commited sins?
Or When we asked to be forgiven, did Jesus take the punishment for sin and we recieve mercy because we trust that our sins were answered for?
I have to ask, if expiation is correct, why did Jesus suffer so badly and die if he was not answering for sins? Why did he feel separated from the Father?
See, these denominations, or anyone for that matter, who want to downgrade the work of Jesus, who want to attack the doctrines that impact salvation, these people who do that, they are ok with mercy.
Yes God is a God of mercy, yes God is merciful. And they are okay with God is forgiving, yes, he is faithful to forgive, yes our God is so forgiving.
And they are ok with love, Yes lord you are love and you love me, but are they ok with God is just? We have to focus on that word for a second. Is God just? then why would sin go unanswered.
We have created this evangelical monster by our lazy evangelical attempts. We are people of nostalgia. Much of our teachings we hold to are not a thus sayeth the Lord. we have to be honest with ourselves, if we want transformation to take place, we have to be honest with ourselves.
Most of the teachings we hold to in life are not thus sayeth the lord, it is well i was always taught. I was always taught this or that. I told you all that historically speaking a liberal movement began in the late 1800’s.
This was the darwin era. Was in full bloom by the dawn of the 1900’s. Each generation becoming more and more liberal in theology. So we sit here today 150 years later we have entire denominations saying that this word in the bible cant be used.
Why not? because i was always taught that… XYZ. this whole I was always taught attitude goes back to the days of Jesus. Jesus had to tell people you have herd of old but I say to you.
When he said that, he did not mean the OT, he meant of old teachings. What they were always taught. Dont think for second you are immune to this, do not think for a second that you have not already been effected.
So, what do these peopel do to Gods word as a result. Well because they were always taught, they will now force the scripture to say the same thing. They will now rephrase and redefine everything that confronts what they were always taught.
Instead of the word of God transforming them, they want to transform the word of God. And they do so by attacking a bold statement. Using this word means that God was the one offended and the payment was owed to him.
Look at
1 John 1:5 NASB95
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 john
there is no darkness at all, John is using the word darkness for sin, there is no sin in his presence at all. He will not walk with it, and walk in it. Because God is Just and when we sin we offend him. Now you need to have that in your mind.
We are going to move on but we are going to circle back to this topic. Keep in mind that God is just, there is no darkness in him. look back again at .
After Propitiation we see in his blood through faith or better translated by his blood through faith. Some translation say through faith in his blood, that is wrong. The KJV dropped the ball there and as a result, has created a bizzare view of blood.
Paul is never blood centered. no one in the NT is, Paul is always Christ centered. It is always about the person. Faith in the person not in his blood. This has caused people to pray to his blood and speak of his blood and some magical liquid.
Blood is covenant lanaguge. The reason for that is because blood was seen as the persons life as life in general. At the fall God sacrificed ananimal to cover adam and eve. Right at the fall we see God providing the sacrifice to cover their shame.
caine and able is another example where able brought the proper sacrifice, by blood. And out of jelousey, ables blood was spilled.
The passover, God told moses to communicate to captive Isreal that they must sacrifice an aniamal and cover the top of the entry way with the blood. And overnight, judgment came, and only those covered by the blood were spared.
Are you seeing Jesus in the discription I am giving? That is why we are covered by his blood, it is passover language. So it is not faith in the blood, its faith in the person.
The propitiation is by the blood and propitiation is applied to those who have faith. Again faith having those three elements we went over in the past. Faith is knowledge of truth, assencion to truth and trust in the truth.
So God is the subject, he was the one who put his son on display as a propitiation, and it was to display his righteousness. the struggle people have is that we have a paradox here, at least some argue that.
God gave the propition to himself? he was the one wronged so he gave the propitiaion to himself? how does this display his righteousness?
look at the last part of verse 25, because in the forbearance of God, he passed over the sins previously commited.
A common question people have is if salvation is by faith in Jesus, what about those people before Jesus? well paul does talk about that in the next chapter but a little preview of that is that salvation is always cross centered.
The saints of old look forward to the coming messiah, their faith was in the one to come. We here today look back at the messiah the cross being the essential point in time.
What Paul is saying here is that God practiced great patiants as he passed over the sins passed commited. God was storing up wrath for those sins, those sins must be answered for and he is holding on to this wrath with great patiiants
That is what the word forbearance means and this was to demonstrate his righteosness or it could also be translated his justice, or justness
Romans 3:26 NASB95
for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
While paul mention in the previous verse sins commited in the past, he now talks about the demonstartion and righteousness of God in the present time. Getting to some good news.
this demonsration, that is the public display of his son on the cross, the public display of blood being poured out and the great pain our savior endured at the hands of his creation, and at the separation he felt from the father.;
this demonstration was so that God can be both the just and the justifier. Here is that great Paradox, her is the justice of God. We worship a just God. There is no darkness in him, so to forgive people of sin without justice means that God would be walking in darkness.
We worship a just God and he communicated throughout history and preserved in his word that He is just and all sin will be answered for. But God also communicated that he is merciful.
The cross and what took place on the cross is where justice and mercy meet. Jesus bore the sins of many and as the lamb of God wrath was poured onto Jesus. we know that by the word propitiation.
Real quick look at
1 John 2:2 NASB95
and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
also look at
Hebrews 2:17 NASB95
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
That is a biblical word this tells us that Jesus became the object of the stored up wrath. The cross displays that God is just in that he all sin will be answered for, that there is not one sin that goes unpunished. The cross not only displays his justice but displays his faithfulness, in that he kept his promise.
God made the claims of justice and the claims of justice were satisfied in the work of Christ not there we have that word satisfied. The word that the PCUSA did not like.
The cross displays his mercy in that whoever has faith in Jesus, it was Jesus who recieved that wrath for you, it was jesus who took your punishment. Your sins are not just forgiven, they have been answered for, how is that not merciful?
God is the Just and the one who justifies, the justifier. Justice and mercy meet at the cross, wrath and grace meet at the cross, the greatest display of love of all time. The last part of verse 26, the just and the justifier of the one who has faith in jesus.
This mercy and justice is only for a specific group, those who have faith in Jesus. in the greek it would read one who is of faith in jesus. This is not a person who says they believe but a person who is transformed by their belief.
a person who has the characteristics of faith, whose characteristics is faith. Everything that they do, every decision that they make comes from thier faith in Jesus.
So according to the text we looked at today, did God send his son? did God put his Son on display, Was the wrath of God satisfied by the work on the cross?
My heart breaks for these people who want to re write scripture who want to redefine things to fit with what they were always taught.
Do not be one of those people. do not be the ones who transform the word of God to fit what you have always been taught but allow the word of God transform you.
The cross displays so much more than wrath and grace, it displays love, it displays courge, it displays heroism and it displays sacrifice. Why do we want to cheapen the cross?
Why do we find in necassary to take away the high price Jesus paid? We cant, we must never sacrifice the truth becaue he was the one who made the real sacrifice
1 thes 3:
1 Thessalonians 3:11–13 NASB95
Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
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