God’s Greatest Revelation

God’s greatest revelation is also His most complex attribute, and that is His righteousness. We miss this sometimes, for most people equate righteousness with justice, and while they are related, they are not the same. In fact many older theology books don’t list “righteousness” as an attribute of God,

but they all say He is just. What is the difference?

Let’s ask the question another way: What makes the God of the Bible different from all other so-called deities? We often read of the anger of the gods, on the one hand, and the kind things they do on the other. Even Islam refers to “Allah the Merciful,” though the Koran burns with his wrath and judgment on nearly every page.

We love to speak of God’s love, and often take comfort in His justice, especially if we have been wronged. But the real conundrum here is that strictly speaking, there can be no mixture of love and justice. Strict justice can NEVER forgive sin or forego punishment. If God were merely to “let sin slide” as we do sometimes, He would not be Just, and therefore, not be God. So how does this God, this same God, love and save sinners?

This is precisely the question the New Testament book of Romans answers in dramatic fashion. It gets to the heart of God’s “problem” by explaining first of all, how each and every human being is lost, and under His just judgment, those who know His law, and those who do not (Romans 1:18–3:20). So how can this totally just God ever save sinners?

The answer is “The Cross of Christ.”

It is upon the Cross that God demonstrates both His absolute rejection of everything evil, and at the same time, His love for people, His white-hot rage against sin, and His fatherly compassion for sinners. The Apostle Paul says that at Calvary, “the righteousness of God has been manifested. . . through faith in Christ Jesus. . . whom God put forth as a propitiation by His blood. . . This was to show God’s righteousness. . .” Romans 3:21-25.

Being just is no problem. Being loving is no problem. Being just AND loving is a big problem which no gods or goddesses in human history ever even attempted to solve. Nor could they. But the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob alone reveals His heart of righteousness and THE METHOD by which He can be merciful and just at the same time. Jesus’ resurrection is further demonstration that God has accepted His sacrifice for sinners, opening the door of grace.

God’s righteousness is His guarantee that there is a way for Him to love us while maintaining His justice. But it was at a great price: the death of His Son for sinners. Have you taken refuge under the wings of this righteous God? Have your sins been forgiven through the blood of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth?

“Father, we thank you for all your attributes, but also for the way they combine beautifully and perfectly, melding into your righteousness as manifest in Jesus. Amen.

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