Friday, August 6, 2010

Of All-Sufficient Worth

There is a tendency to look on the issue of one’s relationship to God in general terms. We know that we are sinners, however defined. After all, nobody is perfect. But such a broad view of sinfulness never permits the sinner to be humbled before the Holy Judge. There are no specific charges, nor is the case fully adjudicated in one’s mind and conscience. The result is that the sinner’s heart is never wholly satisfied that God has been reconciled and the sin forgiven.

Along with an unspecific accounting of one’s sinfulness, there is a similar unspecific view of the work of Christ. We believe that Jesus died to save sinners, however applied, without any focus on His taking the place of definite sinners and paying for their precise sins. A sweeping generalization fails to appreciate the particulars of His satisfaction so necessary to one’s assurance.

Justifying faith sees the worth of God’s plan to settle His salvation on the merits of His Son’s sacrifice as a substitute for the specific sins of specific sinners. Paul, after extensive development God’s purpose to justify guilty souls in Christ, writes: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33). All sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Thus, all transgressors must face the Law-giver. Yet, with all the evidence before him, Paul, without hesitation, declares that “it is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). Christ answers all claims that might be raised against any for whom He died. Although even the smallest of sins in our estimation are great evils to God, Christ’s righteousness is more than enough for our guilt and shame.

No sin is so great that Christ’s blood cannot atone for it. God “did not spare [hold back on] his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). No one included in verse 30 (those predestined, called, justified, and glorified) has committed sins beyond the scope of verse 32. Therefore, free of all hesitation, Paul makes the blanket assertion that there is no one in God’s universe who can circumvent the results of Christ’s cross work.

Did you sin in a way that makes the intention of your heart a greater offense than the deed itself? There is nothing hidden from His knowledge of you. He sees the deed; He knows the issues of your heart prompting the deed. However, such knowledge did not keep Him from paying the penalty in full. Did you sin in a way aggravated and compounded by your delight and enjoyment of the offense? Know that His delight to do His Father’s will (Psalm 40:8) overrides any revulsion that your pleasure incited. Did you sin deliberately when you could have avoided the crime? Know that His determination to die for you (Luke 9:51) is infinitely greater than your resolve to sin. He said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). There is nothing in our sinning that does not have a fit answer in His work on our behalf. He is more than enough.

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