The Glory of God 32

An attribute of God must be determined from what He is within Himself rather than judged by our own standards. God is the standard of Himself and of all things.

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

In the last BLOG (The Glory of God 31) we started looking at Romans 3:23-26 and noting that underlying this passage of Scripture is the self-sufficiency of God manifested in Christ. Justification and redemption are completely sufficient for sinners because they flow from the self-sufficiency of God and this is seen in and by Christ. It is Christ that God put on display “as a propitiation in His blood through faith.” Was Christ a perfect propitiation or was He not? If so, then He was and is a perfectly sufficient propitiation. There could be no Gospel of the glory of God if there could be no sufficient propitiation found. We see, then, that in Christ the blood of Christ was and is a perfect and fully sufficient propitiation. In Christ we behold the self-sufficient God providing a perfectly sufficient propitiation and as such one in which He took His own wrath away in Christ. No one else could possibly provide a sufficient propitiation, yet what we see and behold is our self-sufficient God providing a sufficient propitiation as no one else could do so. Behold the glory of our God in Christ.

We are also pointed to the demonstration of the righteousness of God in Christ. The great sacrifice is said to be a demonstration of His righteousness for the sins of those in the past and a demonstration of His righteousness at the present time. Christ has fully and sufficiently displayed the righteousness of God so that it is God who is both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ. We don’t just need for God to take away His wrath in a sufficient way, though indeed we need that, but in taking away His own wrath in Christ in a perfectly sufficient way He has glorified His righteousness. All the sins of the saints of old were never taken away, though indeed they were pictured as being taken away by the sacrifices of animals. But the animal sacrifices were not sufficient in the slightest to take away sin, but could only point toward Christ who alone could do so.

Behold the perfect sufficiency of God in taking the sins of all those saved in the Old Testament and in Christ having a sufficient demonstration of His righteousness. The demonstration of His righteousness had to be sufficient as He has to be righteous at all times. In the Old Testament it appeared that He was letting sin slide by, but He was not. When Christ went to the cross and died as a sufficient sacrifice, He was doing so for the Old Testament saints as well. In that God is now seen as perfectly and sufficiently righteous in Christ. For being righteous regarding the sins that He just appeared to pass over, His righteousness is put on display now and forever in Christ.

The point that we can see and most gloriously so, is that the sacrifice of Christ was sufficient for God to be just and also for Him to be the sufficient Justifier of those in Christ. Underlying the Gospel, at least in one sense, is the blazing glory of the self-sufficiency of God in Christ. God does not need any help in the slightest and no one can supply something He lacks in having Christ be the perfect sacrifice and having Christ be the focus of all the work of justification. This great justification comes to sinners by a free-grace alone and all the glory is to Christ as the self-sufficient Justifier of the people of God. There is nothing we can add because of our sinfulness and weakness, but also because God is self-sufficient and has no need for anyone to help. Behold the glory of God in Christ!

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