When we consider the Lord as “the habitation of justice” (Jer. 50:7), we must consider a truth higher and more wonderful than that which we broached in “Parts 1 & 2.” For as comforting and encouraging as are the truths that as “the habitation of justice” God defines justice for the affairs of men, and God executes justice (ultimately) in the affairs of men, there is another truth in this regard that is rich beyond expression. It deals with the fundamental truth of our redemption that allows God to offer grace to sinners while maintaining His holiness regarding sin and the sinner.
Paul explains this proposition succinctly in Romans: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (3:24-26). Even a barebones exposition of these verses would require much more space that we have here. We must, therefore, limit ourselves to two key elements.
1. Just. As “the habitation of justice” God is, first of all, just in both His essential nature and His practical actions. As a holy God, He is separate from sin and can have no fellowship with fallen, sinful men. As a holy God, He must judge sin. And as sin is an offense against an infinitely holy God, judgment upon sin must be infinite in nature. God has declared that the consequence of sin must be death (“the soul that sinneth, it shall die” [Ezek. 18:4, 20])—both physical and spiritual (eternal separation from God [Rev. 20:14; 21:8]). The situation for man appears hopeless. But here is where the infinite wisdom, love, and grace of God appear. Our text brings us the marvelous news that “God hath set forth” His Son, Jesus Christ, to be “a propitiation” for us. In brief, God decreed and Christ agreed that the Father would pour out all His wrath against sinners upon His Son through the experience of the suffering and separation of the cross. All the judgment that every sinner deserves was meted out upon Christ, who endured God’s complete penalty for sin on behalf of every man, woman, and child who ever was born or ever will be born. The Lord, the habitation of justice, demanded a payment for sin and extracted the full price at the expense of His own dearly Beloved Son. God exhausted His wrath on His Son so that there is none left for the sinner who believes.
2. The justifier. As “the habitation of justice” God, having spent His wrath on Jesus Christ, has now declared that the price for sin has been paid so that “he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Marvelous truth! Those who believe and rest in the price that God exacted upon His Son on their behalf are justified (“declared righteous” in God’s eyes). In the first place, God maintained His justice by judging all sin in His Son. In the second place, He will not sully that justice by exacting a second penalty against those who come to Him by faith in the finished work of Christ. All who approach through the cross God can freely and graciously justify. They are henceforth and forever viewed with the same approbation with which the Father regards His Beloved and only Begotten Son. Some seven hundred years before the event, Isaiah foresaw the cross: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin . . . . He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (53:10, 11).
Who can fathom the marvelous grace of our “habitation of justice” whose love has provided us an eternal habitation in His presence?
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