Last week, we recounted the events of the saddest day in human history. As you may recall, Adam and Eve were convinced by the serpent (i.e. Satan) that God was wrongfully refusing them their rightful status as gods who were coequal with Him. The end result was the first couple betrayed God and rebelled against Him. This morning, we want to consider how God responded to the open rebellion of this pampered couple for whom He had provided everything.
Because He had given them sufficient reason to trust in Him, as well as fair warning of the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:15-17), God was well within His rights to destroy Adam and Eve and bring humanity to an end. Indeed if He were to give us our just comeuppance He would have destroyed us on the spot. However, another of God’s infinite attributes (i.e. His love, cf. Jn. 3:16) prompted Him to offer us redemption rather than the destruction we deserve. But why did His only Son have to die in place of sinful man? Why did God not simply declare man forgiven and spare Jesus the suffering of the cross?
The answer lies in the reality of the nature of God. In Isaiah 6:3, we read that God is “holy, holy, holy.” The term holy means that which is intrinsically good and pure. John declared that “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). Jesus said “…No one is good but One, that is, God…” (Mt. 19:17). Our concept of goodness and holiness is derived from our understanding of the nature of God for He is the essence of goodness and holiness. Righteousness and justice are the foundation upon which God’s throne rests (Psa. 89:14). This is why the wages of sin is death (i.e. separation from God, cf. Rom. 6:23).
However, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:23). Romans 3:21-26 answers the question we are considering. God had to give His Son to die in our stead in order to maintain His justice while extending mercy to the ungodly (Rom. 3:25-26; cf. Rom. 5:6-8). For this we join Paul in saying, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 7:24).