From the very beginning, God left no doubt that He would invalidate Satan’s accusations and demonstrate His ultimate love and justice. His justice demands that there be payment of the penalty for mankind’s sin. His love seeks to restore humanity into fellowship with Him. How could God manifest both?
God’s character of love and justice has been revealed in its fullest manifestation at the death of Christ. God loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10, John 3:16). By paying in Himself the penalty for violating the law, God showed His justice: the demands of the law had to be met, and they were at the cross, but in the person of Jesus.
At the same time, by this act of justice, God was also able to reveal His grace and love, because Jesus’ death was substitutionary. He died for us, in our stead, so that we don’t have to face that death ourselves. This is the amazing provision of the gospel, that God Himself would bear in Himself the punishment that His own justice demanded, the punishment that legitimately belonged to us.
Romans 3:21–26 is a biblical jewel on the theme of God’s righteousness and the Redemption in Jesus Christ. Christ’s sacrificial death is a demonstration of God’s righteousness so “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26, NASB).
Again, sanctuary imagery provides the framework for Christ’s death. In previous weeks, we have seen that His death is a perfect, substitutionary sacrifice and that Christ is the “atonement cover” (Rom. 3:25). In short, both Testaments reveal that Christ’s mission was typified by the earthly sanctuary service.
“With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. . . . But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. . . . At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 37. What does this quote tell you about the character of God?