“For all have sinned , and come short of the glory of God; 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.” –Rom. 3:23-26
Here is a question the natural mind cannot answer–How can sinful man be reconciled to a holy God? Here is a mystery that can only be unraveled by the wisdom of God. Here is a need that can only be met by the One who is all-powerful. There exist an enmity between sinful man and God who is holy that is so great that nothing short of divine love can settle it. But how can this be? What is the solution? Where do we find the answer? Fortunately God has the answer–God is the answer! John Stott stated it like this:
“How is it possible for the righteous God to declare the unrighteous to be righteous without either compromising his righteousness or condoning their unrighteousness? This is our question. God’s answer is the cross.
Without the cross the justification of the unjust would be unjustified, immoral, and therefore impossible. The only reason God ‘justifies the wicked’ is that ‘Christ died for the wicked’. Because he shed his blood in a sacrificial death for sinners, God is able justly to justify the unjust.
According to the Christian revelation, God’s own great love propitiated his own holy wrath through the gift of his own dear Son, who took our place, bore our sin and died our death. Thus God himself gave himself to save us from himself. This is the righteous basis on which the righteous God can ‘righteous’ the unrighteous without compromising his righteousness.”