God is revealed in Scripture to be holy (Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8), righteous/just (Psalm 119:137; Deuteronomy 32:4; Ezra 9:15), love (1 John 4:8; Psalm 103:17; Psalm 136), and merciful (Luke 1:50; Deuteronomy 4:31; Ephesians 2:4).
There are many more attributes of God that can be found in Scripture. These four can seem contradictory. It can seem that His righteousness/justice and His mercy are an “either/or” instead of a “both/and.”
The Bible tells us that God created everything outside of Himself and He also sustains it. (Genesis 1-2) He created man and woman in His image and gave them dominion over the earth and all that was on it. They lived in right relationship with God, as was His desire. Man was created to love, worship, and obey God (Psalm 24:1;Revelation 4:11; 1 Cor. 1:9). Mankind reflected God's glory until...
Man rebelled against God by disobeying His command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The rebellion represented a greater rejection as Man sought to worship themselves rather than God.
Because God is holy and just, He must be opposed to sin in how He views it and how He reacts to it. Therefore, all mankind stands under God’s holy and righteous wrath and judgment.
There are two implications for mankind due to the Fall:
- STATUS- We stand GUILTY before the righteous and holy judge deserving the fullness of His wrath.
- STATE- We are chained as slaves to our sin nature. By default we are inclined towards sin and evil.
(Romans 2:10-18; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15)
The gospel message is truly good news for mankind. It is only good news because of who Jesus is and what He has done. Jesus is the Son of God and has existed eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Due to theholiness, justice, love, and mercy of God it was necessary for God to act on man’s behalf for His wrath to be satisfied. He wanted a relationship with His children, but they were separated because sin has no place in the presence of God. The Father sent His only Son on a mission into creation to save His children.
Jesus Christ was born as a human, being fully God and fully man, by Mary, a virgin. He lived a perfect life of obedience to God and did not sin. He lived how man was created to live, but had failed to do so. Though He was faultless, He was cursed, ridiculed, persecuted, beaten, arrested, tortured, and eventually sentenced to the harshest death sentence that the world has ever known. He was crucified on a cross, taking on the fullness of God’s wrath. His sacrifice served as a propitiation for our sins. (Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 6:5-11) Penal substitutionary atonement has the following affects on the STATUS and STATE of those who believe:
- STATUS- We stand NOT-GUILTY before the righteous and holy judge NO LONGER receiving the fullness of His wrath. Jesus took it on for us.
- STATE- We are NO LONGER chained as slaves to our sin nature. He has broken the chains to sin so that we may live by the Holy Spirit.
Response (Faith & Repentence)
John the Baptist paved the way for Christ according to prophecy of Isaiah. His message to his followers was clear; “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) When Jesus started His ministry after being baptized and tempted in the desert, He spoke very similar words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
The response of the believer is to repent, thus turn away from sin and turn to God. (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 17:30) This comes through faith. Faith is not something that man decides to have, but rather is a gift that is given them by God, so that "none may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29; Romans 12:3)