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Justice Satisfied

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/03/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                                    Justice Satisfied

                                                        A Sermon                                                           (No. 255)

                            Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 29th, 1859, by the                                               REV. C.H. SPURGEON                                     at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.



              "Just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."Romans 3:26.                   "Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."1 John 1:9.

          WHEN THE SOUL is seriously impressed with the conviction of its guilt, when terror and alarm get           hold upon it concerning the inevitable consequences of its sin, the soul is afraid of God. It dreads at           that time every attribute of divinity. But most of all the sinner is afraid of God's justice. "Ah," saith he           to himself, "God is a just God; and if so, how can he pardon my sins? for my iniquities cry aloud for           punishment, and my transgressions demand that his right hand should smite me low. How can I be saved? Were           God unjust, he might forgive: but, alas! he is not so, he is severely just. 'He layeth justice to the line, and           righteousness to the plummet.' He is the judge of all the earth, and he must do right. How then can I escape from           his righteous wrath which must be stirred up against me?" Let us be assured that the sinner is quite right in the           conviction that there is here a great difficulty. The justice of God is in itself a great barrier to the salvation of           sinners. There is no possibility for that barrier to be surmounted, nor even for it to be removed except by one           means, which shall this day be proclaimed unto you through the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. It is true that           God is just. Let old Sodom tell you how God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon man's iniquity. Let a           drowning world tell you how God lifted the sluices of the fountains of the great deep, and bade the bubbling           waters spring up and swallow up man alive. Let the earth tell you; for she opened her mouth when Korah, Dathan,           and Abiram rebelled against God. Let the buried cities of Nineveh, and the tattered relics of Tyre and Sidon, tell           you that God is just, and will by no means spare the guilty. And direst of all, let hell's bottomless lake declare what           is the awful vengeance of God against the sins of man. Let the sighs, and groans, and moans, and shrieks of spirits           condemned of God, rise in your ears, and bear witness that he is a God who will not spare the guilty, who will not           wink at iniquity, transgression, and sin, but who will have vengeance upon every rebel, and will give justice its full           satisfaction for every offence.               The sinner is right in his conviction that God is just, and he is moreover right in the inference which follows           from it, that because God is just his sin must be punished. Ah, sinner, if God punish not thy sin, he has ceased to           be what he has always beenthe severely just, the inflexibly righteous. Never has there been a sin pardoned,           absolutely and without atonement, since the world began. There has never been an offense yet remitted by the           great Judge of heaven, until the law has received the fullest vindication. You are right, O convicted sinner, that           such shall be the case even to the end. Every transgression shall have its just recompense of reward. For every           offence there shall be its stroke, and for every iniquity there shall be its doom. "Ah," now says the sinner, "then I           am shut out of heaven. If God be just and he must punish sin, then what can I do? Justice, like some dark angel,           strides across the road of mercy, and with his sword drawn, athirst for blood and winged to slay, he strides across           my path, and threatens to drive me backwards over the precipice of death into the ever-burning lake." Sinner, thou           art right; it is even so. Except through the gospel which I am about to preach to thee, justice is thine antagonist, thy           lawful, irresistible, and insatiable enemy. It cannot suffer thee to enter heaven, for thou hast sinned; and punished           that sin must be, avenged that transgression must be, as long as God is Godthe holy and the just.               Is it possible, then, that the sinner cannot be saved? This is the great riddle of the law, and the grand discovery           of the gospel. Wonder ye heavens! be astonished O earth! that very justice which stood in the sinner's way and           prevented his being pardoned, has been by the gospel of Christ appeased; by the rich atonement offered upon           Calvary, justice is satisfied, has sheathed its sword, and has now not a word to say against the pardon of the           penitent. Nay, more, that justice once so angry, whose brow was lightning, and whose voice was thunder, has now           become the sinner's advocate, and itself with its mighty voice pleads with God, that whosoever confesses his sin           should be pardoned and be cleansed from all unrighteousness.               The business of this morning shall be to show, in the first place, according to the first text, how justice is no           longer the sinner's enemy"God is just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth;" and then, in the second place,           that justice has become the sinner's advocate, and that "God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to           cleanse us from all unrighteousness."               But here let me utter a caution; I shall speak this morning, only to those who feel their guilt, and who are           ready to confess their sin. For to those who still love sin, and will not acknowledge their guilt, there is no promise           of mercy or pardon. For them there remains nothing but the fearful looking for of judgment. "He that being often           reproved hardeneth his heart shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." The soul that neglects this           great salvation cannot escape; there is no door of escape provided for it. Unless the Lord has now brought us to           feel our need of mercy, has compelled us to confess that unless he gives us mercy we must righteously perish, and           unless, moreover, he has made us willing now to be saved on any terms, so that we may be saved at all, this           gospel which I am about to preach is not ours. But if we be convinced of sin and are now trembling before the           thunders of God's wrath, every word that I am now about to speak will be full of encouragement and consolation           to you.               I. First, then, HOW HAS JUSTICE BEEN PUT ASIDE? or rather, HOW HAS IT BEEN SO SATISFIED           THAT IT NO LONGER STANDS IN THE WAY OF GOD'S JUSTIFYING THE SINNER?               The one answer to that is, Justice has been satisfied through the substitution of our blessed Lord and Saviour,           Jesus Christ. When man sinned the law demanded that man must be punished. The first offense of man was           committed by Adam, who was the representative of the entire race. When God would punish sin, in his own           infinite mind he thought of the blessed expedient, not of punishing his people, but of punishing their representative,           the covenant head, the second Adam. It was by one man, the first man, that sin entered into the world, and death           by sin. It was by another man, the second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, it was by him that this sin was           borne; by him its punishment was endured; by him the whole wrath of heaven was suffered. And through that           second representative of manhood, Jesus, the second Adam, God is now able and willing to forgive the vilest of           tile vile, and justify even the ungodly, and he is able to do so without the slightest violation of his justice. For,           mark, when Jesus Christ the Son of God suffered on the tree, he did not suffer for himself. He had no sin, either           natural or actual. He had done nothing whatever that could bring him under the ban of heaven, or subject his holy           soul and his perfect body to grief and pain. When he suffered it was as a substitute. He died"the just for the           unjust, that he might bring us to God." Had his sorrows been personally deserved they would have had no efficacy           in them. But inasmuch as for sins not his own he died to atone; inasmuch as he was punished, not for any guilt           that he had done or could do, but for the guilt incurred by others, there was a merit and an efficacy in all that he           suffered, by which the law was satisfied, and God is able to forgive.               Let us show very briefly how fully the law is satisfied.               1. Note first the dignity of the victim who offered himself up to divine justice. Man had sinned; the law           required the punishment of manhood. But Jesus, the eternal Son of God, "very God of very God," who had been           hymned through eternal ages by joyous angels, who had been the favourite of his Father's court, exalted high           above principalities and powers, and every name that is named, he himself condescended to become man; was           born of the Virgin Mary; was cradled in a manger; lived a life of suffering, and at last died a death of agony. If you           will but think of the wondrous person whom Jesus wasas very God of very God, king of angels, creator,           preserver, Lord of allI think you will see that in his sufferings, the law received a greater vindication than it           could have done even in the sufferings of all the men that have ever lived or ever could live. If God had consumed           the whole human race, if all the worlds that float in ether had been sacrificed as one mighty holocaust to the           vengeance of the law, it would not have been so well vindicated as when Jesus died. For the deaths of all men and           all angels would have been but the deaths and sufferings of creatures; but when Jesus died, the Creator himself           underwent the pang, it was the divine preserver of the world hanging on the cross. There is such dignity in the           Godhead, that all it does is marvellous and infinite in its merit; and when he stooped to suffer, when he bowed his           awful head, cast aside his diadem of stars to have his brow girt about with thorns; when his hands that once           swayed the sceptre of all worlds were nailed to the tree; when his feet that erst had pressed the clouds, when these           were fastened to the wood, then did the law receive an honour such as it never could have received if a whole           universe in one devouring conflagration had blazed and burned for ever.               2. In the next place, just pause and think of the relationship which Jesus Christ had towards the great judge of           all the earth, and then you will see again that the law must have been fully satisfied thereby. We hear of Brutus           that he was the most inflexible of law-givers; that when he sat upon the bench he knew no distinction of persons.           Imagine dragged before Brutus many of the noblest Roman senators, convicted of crime: he condemns them, and           without mercy they are rent away by the lictors to their doom. You would admire certainly all this justice of           Brutus But suppose Brutus' own son brought before himand such was the caseimagine the father sitting on           the judgment-bench and declaring that he knew no distinction whatever, even of his own children. Conceive that           son tried and condemned out of his father's own mouth. See him tied up before his father's own eyes, while, as           the inflexible judge, that father bids the lictor lay on the rod, and afterwards cries, "Take him away and use the           axe!" See you not here how he loves his country better than his son, and he loves justice better than either.           "Now," says the world, "Brutus is just indeed." Now, if God had condemned each of us one by one, or the whole           race in a mass, there would certainly have been a vindication of his justice. But lo! his own son takes upon him the           sins of the world, and he comes before his Father's presence. He is not guilty in himself, but the sins of man are           laid upon his shoulders. The Father condemns his Son; he gives him up to the Roman rod; he gives him up to           Jewish mockery, to military scorn, and to priestly arrogance. He delivers up his Son to the executioner, and bids           him nail him to the tree; and as if that were not enough, since the creature had not power of itself to give forth all           the vengeance of God upon its own substitute, God himself smites his Son. Are you staggered at such an           expression? It is scriptural. Read in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and there you have the proof thereof:"It           pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief." When the whip had gone round to every hand, when the           betrayer had smitten him, when Pilate and Herod, and Jew and Gentile, had each laid on the stroke, it was seen           that human arm was not powerful enough to execute the full vengeance: then did the Father take his sword, and           cry, "Awake! O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow," and he smote him sternly, as if           he had been his enemy, as if he were a common culprit, as if he were the worst of criminalshe smote him again           and again, till that awful shriek was forced from the lips of the dying substitute, "Eloi, Eloi, lama           sabacthani,"my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Surely, when God smites his Son, and such a Son,           when God smites his only begotten and well-beloved, then Justice has more than its due, more than itself could           ask, Christ himself did freely give!               3. Furthermore, if you will please for a moment to consider how terrible were the agonies of Christ, which,           mark you, he endured in the room, the place, the stead of all poor penitent sinners, of all those who confess their           sins and believe in him; I say, when you mark these agonies, you will readily see why Justice does not stand in the           sinner's way. Doth Justice come to thee this morning, and say, "Sinner, thou hast sinned, I will punish thee?"           Answer thus"Justice, thou hast punished all my sins. All I ought to have suffered has been suffered by my           substitute, Jesus. It is true that in myself I owe thee a debt greater than I can pay, but it is true that in Christ I owe           thee nothing; for all I did owe is paid, every farthing of it; the utmost drachm has been counted down; not a doit           remains that is due from me to thee, O thou avenging justice of God." But if Justice still accuse, and conscience           clamour, go thou and take Justice with thee to Gethsemane, and stand there with it:see that man so oppressed           with grief, that all his head, his hair, his garments bloody be. Sin was a pressa vice which forced his blood from           every vein, and wrapped him in a sheet of his own blood. Dost see that man there! canst hear his groans, his cries,           his earnest intercessions, his strong crying and tears! canst mark that clotted sweat as it crimsons the frozen soil,           strong enough to unloose the curse! dost see him in the desperate agony of his spirit, crushed, broken, bruised           beneath the feet of the Justice in the olive press of God! Justice, is not that enough? will not that content thee? In a           whole hell there is not so much dignity of vengeance as there is in the garden of Gethsemane. Art thou not yet           satisfied? Come, Justice, to the hall of Pilate. Seest thou that man arraigned, accused, charged with sedition and           with blasphemy! See him taken to the guard-room, spat upon, buffetted with hands, crowned with thorns, robed in           mockery, and insulted with a reed for a sceptre. I say, Justice, seest thou that man, and dost thou know that he is           "God over all blessed for ever?" and yet he endureth all this to satisfy thy demands! Art thou not content with           that? Dost thou still frown? Let me show thee this man on the pavement. He is stripped. Stand, Justice, and listen           to those stripes, those bloody scourges, and as they fall upon his devoted back and plough deep furrows there,           dost thou see thong-full after thong-full of his quivering flesh torn from his poor bare back! Art not content yet,           Justice? Then what will satisfy thee? "Nothing," says Justice, "but his death." Come thou with me, then thou canst           see that feeble man hurried through the streets! Seest thou him driven to the top of Calvary, hurled on his back,           nailed to the transverse wood? Oh, Justice, canst thou see his dislocated bones, now that his cross is lifted up?           Stand with me, O Justice, see him as he weeps, and sighs, and cries; see his soul-agonies! Canst thou read that tale           of terror which is veiled in that flesh and blood? Come, listen Justice, whilst thou hearest him cry, "I thirst," and           whilst thou seest the burning fever devouring him, till he is dried up like a potsherd, and his tongue cleaveth to the           roof of his mouth for thirst! And lastly, O Justice, dost thou see him bow his head, and die? "Yes," saith Justice,           "and I am satisfied; I have nothing that I can ask more; I am fully content; my uttermost demands are more than           satisfied."               And am I not content, too? Guilty though I am and vile, can I not plead that this bloody sacrifice is enough to           satisfy God's demands against me? Oh, yes, I trust I can,

                                                  "My faith doth lay its hand,                                                   On that dear head of thine,                                                 While like a penitent I stand,                                                   And here confess my sin."

          Jesus, I believe that they sufferings were for me; and I believe that they are more than enough to satisfy for all my           sins. By faith I cast myself at the foot of thy cross and cling to it. This is my only hope, my shelter, and my shield.           It cannot be, that God can smite me now. Justice itself prevents, for when Justice once is satisfied it were injustice           if it should ask for more. Now, is it not clear enough to the eye of every one, whose soul has been aroused, that           Justice stands no longer in the way of the sinner's pardon? God can be just, and yet the justifier. He has punished           Christ, why should he punish twice for one offence? Christ has died for all his people's sins, and if thou art in the           covenant, thou art one of Christ's people. Damned thou canst not be. Suffer for thy sins thou canst not. Until God           can be unjust, and demand two payments for one debt, he cannot destroy the soul for whom Jesus died. "Away           goes universal redemption," says one. Yes, away it goes, indeed. I am sure there is nothing about that in the Word           of God. A redemption that does not redeem is not worth my preaching, or your hearing, Christ redeemed every           soul that is saved; no more, and no less. Every spirit that shall be seen in heaven Christ bought. If he had           redeemed those in hell, they never could have come there. He has bought his people with his blood, and they           alone shall he bring with him. "But who are they?" says one. Thou art one, if thou believest. Thou art one if thou           repentest of thy sin. If thou wilt now take Christ to be thy all in all, then thou art one of his; for the covenant must           prove a lie, and God must be unjust, and justice must become unrighteousness, and love must become cruelty,           and the cross must become a fiction, ere thou canst be condemned if thou trustest in Jesus.               This is the way in which Justice ceases to be the enemy of souls.               II. The second text says that not only can God be just, but it says something more: it says, "If we confess our           sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now, if I understand           this text, it means this: that IT IS AN ACT OF JUSTICE ON GOD'S PART TO FORGIVE THE SINNER WHO           MAKES A CONFESSION OF HIS SIN TO GOD. Mark! not that the sinner deserves forgiveness: that can never           be. Sin can never merit anything but punishment, and repentance is no atonement for sin. Not that God is bound           from any necessity of his nature to forgive every one that repents, because repentance has not in itself sufficient           efficacy and power to merit forgiveness at the hand of God. Yet, nevertheless, it is a truth that, because God is           just, he must forgive every sinner who confesses his sin. And if he did notand mark, it is a bold thing to say, but           it is warranted by the textif a sinner should be led truly and solemnly to make confession of his sins and cast           himself on Christ, if God did not forgive him, then he were not the God that he is represented to be in the Word of           God: he were a God unjust, and that may God forbid, such a thing must not, cannot be. But how, then, is it that           Justice itself actually demands that every soul that repents should be pardoned? It is so. The same Justice that just           now stood with a fiery sword in his hand, like the cherubim of old keeping the way of the tree of life, now goes           hand in hand with the sinner. "Sinner," he says, "I will go with thee. When thou goest to plead for pardon I will go           and plead for thee. Once I spoke against thee: but now I am so satisfied with what Christ has done, that I will go           with thee and plead for thee. I will change my language I will not say a word to oppose thy pardon, but I will go           with thee and demand it. It is but an act of justice that God should now forgive." And the sinner goes up with           Justice, and what has Justice got to say? Why, it says this: "God must forgive the repenting sinner, if he be just,           according to his promise." A God who could break his promise were unjust. We do not believe in men who tell us           lies. I have known some of so gentle a disposition, that they could never say "No;" if they were asked to do a thing           they have said, "Yes." But they have never earned a character for it, when they have said "Yes," and afterwards           did not fulfil. It is not so with God. He is no tender-hearted being who promises more than he can perform, and no           forgetful one who promises what afterwards shall slip from his memory. Every word which God utters shall be           fulfilled, whether it be decree, threatening, or promise. Sinner! go to God with a promise in your hand."Lord           thou hast said, 'He that confesseth his sin, and forsaketh it, shall find mercy.' I confess my sin, and I forsake it:           Lord, give me mercy!" Don't doubt but that God will give it you. You have his own pledge in your hand; you have           his own bond in your keeping. Take that pledge and that bond before his throne of mercy, and that bond never           shall be cancelled till it has been honoured. You shall see that promise fulfilled to the uttermost letter, though your           sin be never so black. Suppose the promise you take should be this. "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast           out." "But," says the Law, "thou art one of the greatest sinners that ever lived." "Ay, but the promise says, 'Him           that cometh,' and I come, and I claim the fulfillment of it." "No, but thou hast been a blasphemer." "I know it, but           the promise says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and blasphemer though I am, I claim the promise." "But thou           hast been a thief, thou hast deceived thy neighbour, and thou hast robbed men." "I have, but the promise says,           'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise case out;' I come, and I claim the promise. It does not say anything at all           about character in the promise: it says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and if I be black as the devil, nevertheless           God is true, and I claim the promise. I confess all that can be said against me. Will God be untrue, and send a           seeking soul away with a promise unfulfilled? Never!" "But," says one, "you have lived many years in this way;           your conscience has

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