But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ…whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)
God revealed His absolute righteousness through the death of Jesus Christ. He demonstrated clearly that sin must be righteously judged before there could be forgiveness. The natural mind does not understand this aspect of God’s character without the death of Christ. By nature, we like to assume that if we try to do our very best (which, by the way, we never really do), God in His kindness will overlook our “failures.” In thinking this way, we totally overlook the righteous and holy character of God. We are assuming that God will compromise His righteousness in order to demonstrate His love. This He can never do. Love that is not founded on the basis of righteousness is worthless.
Through His death on the cross, Christ satisfied the righteous and holy demands of God regarding our “sins.” The popular teaching today of God’s tolerance of evil is a slander against His character as the righteous Judge of this universe. It is only by teaching without compromise the necessity of the death of Christ on behalf of sinners that we properly demonstrate the true character of God. A “god” who overlooks sin and does not judge it is but an “idol” made up by the imagination of man. The true God must rightly judge every sin ever committed and in the death of Christ, He has done this for everyone who believes.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9)
Because of sin, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” (Romans 1:18) We see the consequences of sin all around us: death, disease, pain, sorrow, conflict, war, calamities and other disasters. Rather than recognizing these consequences to be the results of our own rebellion and disobedience, the natural man tends to attribute them to the angry nature of God. Thus they conceive of God as a Being who enjoys bringing vengeance on those who do not seek to appease him. We then begin to understand all the acts of atrocity that men have performed before the altars and images of their angry “gods” who are the concept of their own imagination.
All these great sorrows that come upon this world are not evidences that God does not love us. Rather they are evidences that man is living in rebellion against His Maker and that man has turned the world upside down in his proud attempt to do things his own way in contradiction to the ways of God.
Can we know then that God truly loves us? We not only can, but we ought to know because the death of Christ proves His love beyond any doubt. In the above passage we understand that God manifested or displayed His love to us when He sent His only begotten Son into the world. By sending Him, we understand from John 3:16 that He gave Him. The purpose of His mission to the world was to give Himself for our sins.
In giving His Son, God was giving the dearest and most precious possession that He had. He was His only begotten Son, the Son of His love. God was willing to give His very best that we might be saved from the consequences of our sin. This demonstrates a most crucial point about the true message of the Bible and the manifestation of true Christianity. Religions which believe that God is hateful and revengeful seek to exercise their religious zeal by hating, killing, imprisoning, and destroying their opponents. The true Christian reaches out in love and is willing to give himself if necessary to spread the news of God’s love to those who are in rebellion against him. Saul of Tarsus is an illustration of this point. When he was governed by religion, he sought to persecute and to kill his opponents (Acts 26:11). When he was converted to Christ, in love he gave his life to advance the Gospel of Christ to the heathen world about him (2 Cor. 4:11; 5:14).