Monday, June 27, 2005

The Scandal of God being Just

Everyone loves a scandal. Today's tabloids publish yet another Diana scandal (almost eight years after she died...) But there is one scandal the papers always neglect. One that is truly scandalous. One that is truly relevant today.

The hardest book I've ever read (so far) is John Piper's The Justification of God. It's also one of the best. The thesis is that Paul's concern in Romans 9 concerns whether God is righteous. Ultimately God is seen to be righteous because he acts to elevate his own reputation. This is not vanity, since God is the most valuable, most worthy being. To fail to elevate God is the essence of evil.

Over at Wood Chips and Text Musings, A B Canedy arges that The Gospel is Principally the Announcement of God's Own Justification

Very often we look at the gospel as being all about us. We focus upon our justification. Our benefits. Our standings. And to some degree that is all well and good. God's good news is greatly beneficial to us.

But, primarily the gospel concerns God. It is chiefly occupied with the great scandal of how a just God can spare any sinner. How can God allow sins to remain, apparently, unpunished. And the answer is found in the death of Jesus. Without that the one who justifies is unjust.

We take offense at times that God does not save all. The true offense is that God saves any. He would be within the bounds of his own justice for God to judge all. But he takes the scorn of humanity generation after generation, patiently allowing people to turn and trust him - such people are then counted irrevocably as righteous. They are classed as people who always glorify God. How? Because God looks upon Christ and sees perfection.

The only reason he can do this is that God's judgement on those repentant people is taken upon Jesus. At the cross of Christ God is found to be fully just and also the one who can count a sinner righteous.

It's the greatest scandal in history. God is just and justifies sinners. It is the greatest good news in the world. And it is more relevant to your life than you could imagine.