“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as 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 3:23-26).
Do you ever question whether God is right in all that He does? Is God right to save some enabling them to enjoy everlasting life as they enter Heaven and condemn others to an eternity of Hell?
Since the beginning, the devil has tempted man to question the righteousness of God. Satan who, when told be Eve that God told her not to eat the forbidden fruit, encouraged her to doubt whether God was right in doing this, when he said, “"You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). Eve gave into this temptation, doubted God’s righteousness, and sin entered the world.
In writing to the Christians at Rome, the apostle Paul addresses the righteousness of God. Paul speaks about how God is filled with wrath regarding the sins of the Gentiles (Romans 1:18-32) and the Jews (Romans 2:1-3:18). Regarding sin, because all have sinned, all have become guilty before God and fall short of His glory (Romans 3:19, 23). For God to be just, sin must be punished!
However, does God swoop down and immediately ban man to an eternity in Hell the moment he sins? No, God has shown forbearance (Romans 3:25; 2:4). He is longsuffering with men, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In fact, God provided the way for man to be saved from his own sins, by allowing His Son to pay the price for the sins of men. God set Jesus forth as a “propitiation” (i.e. an appeasing sacrifice) for the sins of men (Romans 3:25). Jesus appeased God’s wrath for those who had once practice a life of sin, but who now place their faith in Him as the sacrifice for their sins (Romans 3:25).
Paul concludes that God’s forbearance regarding man’s sins and allowing Christ to die for man’s sins, demonstrates the righteousness of God (Romans 3:26). It enables God to still be just by punishing those who refuse to acknowledge the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf by obeying the gospel (Romans 1:16-17), and to justify the one who does place their faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Considering this, we can clearly see that God is righteous in all that He does!
Why are we tempted to question the righteousness of God? I believe it is because we fail to appreciate what we deserve when we sin. We deserve death (Romans 6:23). We deserved to experience the full measure of God’s wrath. When we question God’s righteousness are we not “despising the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” towards us in sparing us from His wrath and giving us the opportunity to be saved through Christ (cf. Romans 2:4)?
Rather than question whether God is right in what He does, I will have the humility to remember that God is God and I am not. God is always right in what He does! Today, I will not question the righteousness of God, but I will rejoice in the righteousness of God who saved me through His Son!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’ ” (Romans 1:16-17).