Our pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite, is on vacation, so my son-in-law from Australia, Rev. Adam Hensley, preached the sermon last Sunday. It was an amazing exposition of the Gospel. His text was Romans 8:28–39, focusing on verse 3:
God for us. It is no overstatement to claim that these three little words make all the difference to everything! They change the very landscape of your life! Indeed, they allow St Paul to say just a few verses before, “for those who love God all things work together for goodFor, because of Christ, God our Father—the Judge and Creator of all–has already judged in our favor!
Already this morning you have heard Him speak his final judgment upon you, when you heard me declare to you in His stead and by His command: “I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” You do not have to wait until Judgment Day to know His verdict—He has already given it: He has forgiven you for Christ’s sake! . . . .
Now a good judge prizes himself or herself on being neutral. A good judge shows no favoritism, but executes justice without regard for status, fame, prestige, wealth, or appearance. A good judge does not regard the face,but is fair and even, rewarding, justifyingthe righteous and punishing the wicked.
Here we may think of Lady Justice, that statue inspired by the Roman goddess Iustitia, as the epitome of this ideal. She stands blindfolded, indicating that she does not judge by appearances or what she sees. In one hand she holds a sword, symbolizing authority, and in the other a balanced scales, symbolizing equity and fairness. Indeed, Lady Justice is the ideal model for the office of judge in the courts; in God’s left hand Kingdom, as we say.
But Lady Justice is no model for our Eternal Judge, who judges us in Christ!
Our Judge is anything but neutral! He acquits the guilty! He cancels debts! He justifies sinners and transgressors!
He shows favoritism! He shows His favor to you for Christ’s sake. . . .
Now some people talk about the justice of God, or about God as Judge and for all intents and purposes leave Christ out of it. They get into discussions about God’s sovereign right to condemn some and save others in general. . . .But God does not deal with us in the abstract. He deals with us in Christ! He always points us to Christ, and says of Him, “Here is my justice for you! Here I justify you! . . .
God loving is still ―God punishing sin with death, but it is God Himself taking on our human flesh and bearing the punishment—our death sentence—for us.
And so justice is done. Sin and guilt are punished. God’s wrath is exhausted.
Not blindly though, but with both eyes open! For the Father knew what He was doing. The Son knew what He would endure and why: the Innocent would die for the guilty.
And yes, this is a miscarriage of justice to our way of thinking: Christ was no blasphemer as He was accused of being. But it is God’s miscarriage of justice. It was God’s plan that Christ, the Son of God, become the Blasphemer, the Murderer, the Adulterer, the Sinner. And we have become the “called,” “justified,” “glorified” children of the Heavenly Father.
And He who was born of a virgin, talking upon Himself our human flesh and all our sin and guilty, who then died and rose again… He now intercedes for you and me! Both His eyes are open, looking upon you with compassion; looking to the Heavenly Father and pleading the perfect plea for our forgiveness: His wounds that testify that all sin has been punished by death; all our debt paid in full.
So, the eternal Judge and the eternal Defense Attorney is for us! And not only that: He is also the one who chose to endure your sentence for you!