The Good News of the Judgment

Trusting in the Blood in the Judgment Hour
William Diehl

The epistle of the apostle Paul to the Romans articulates most clearly the meaning of what our Lord accomplished upon the cross of Calvary. This epistle in its opening verses declares that the Law of God condemns all the sons and daughters of Adam and that all are doomed to be condemned on the final judgment day when all will have to answer for the sinfulness of their lives.

But God has not left the human family to perish without hope and condemned in the judgment. By His unmerited love and mercy for us death-deserving sinners, God has taken it upon Himself to fulfill all the demands of His broken Law in Man's behalf. His unmerited grace in Christ Jesus is the only reason God justifies, acquits, and adopts lost sinners into His family.

The sinless life and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary is the only basis of our acceptance and continual fellowship with God. All have sinned and all continually fall short of the glory of God. There are none who are righteous enough to bear the full scrutiny of the Law of God. Even the best works of even the most sanctified and mature of the saints of God, who would rather die than commit one known sin, fall short of the perfection and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He alone is the Sinless One by whom we have our title to heaven. In Christ there was not the slightest taint of sin. Although 4,000 years of sin had affected His human nature, He was in no way infected with a sinful nature nor infected with propensities to sin. The holy life He lived upon the earth was a revelation of the "righteousness of God". It is His personal righteousness which is imputed to all who repent of their sins and trust in Christ's perfect life and His death upon the cross as the vicarious atonement for their sins.

All who are walking the closest to Jesus confess the sinfulness of their natures, confess their faults to one another, and testify that they are "chief of sinners" unworthy to unlatch the sandals of His feet. We who believe in Christ are worthy of eternal life only by the unmerited grace of God.

Personal repentance for sin and faith in the doing and dying of Christ is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Repentance towards God and trust in the shed blood of Christ are the only means whereby Christ's substitutionary sinless life and debt canceling atoning death are imputed to us for our acceptance (justification) unto life eternal. All sinners who are justified by faith in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit will glory only in Christ's cross and continually affirm His doing and dying as the central affirmation of their Christian witness. Though we will begin to live loving sanctified lives of obedience to God's commandments, we will continue to repent throughout our lives and rejoice in the perfect righteousness of Christ rather than glory in our own feeble attainments in the Spirit-filled life.

Justification by faith in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord on the cross is true historic evangelical Biblical gospel. All false "gospels" present a view of the plan of salvation which either directly or indirectly deny the legal meritorious basis of our justification before God.

The Bible clearly affirms that if Christ had not lived, died, and arose again for our justification, we would all be dead in trespasses and sin and without hope in the world. Mankind had to be reconciled to the Law of God by the death of Christ, because before God's mercy and grace could flow out to forgive the sons and daughters of Adam, the demands of the Law had to be met.

This is the entire message of the epistle to the Romans from chapters 1 to 11. The Law of God could not be set aside or ignored. To ignore or set aside the Law is to grant "amnesty" to sinners. The gospel does NOT offer us "amnesty". Amnesty means to overlook and not impose the penalty of the broken Law. The true Biblical gospel does not overlook the penalty for sin. The Christian gospel offers us forgiveness, because the Law has NOT been ignored, but rather it has been fulfilled in every jot and tittle by our Lord Jesus Christ.

By God's very nature, He could not overlook His justice and merely grant forgiveness to Adam and Eve in the garden. This is why God took a lamb and slew it to cover their nakedness with its skin and this is why Abel's offering was acceptable to God, but Cain's offering of produce was not. The Law must have its righteous requirements of perfect righteousness met. Without the fulfillment of the righteousness of Christ to fulfill the Law for us we would have to die for every sin and even our every good work that was not covered by the imputed righteousness of Jesus.

Thus all are saved by a work that was accomplished in Christ Jesus and not by our fulfilling the righteous requirements of the Law. This mercy and grace and love and forgiveness which God has revealed to us through the gospel will break the heart of all who believe the gospel and will motivate us to love and serve our God and our fellow man. The more we trust in the imputed righteousness of Christ, the more we will receive the Holy Spirit to enable us to serve as God's friend rather than as a slave trying to earn our salvation by our good works of obedience. True sanctification can now spring from the converted heart of a repentant sinner. Thus we serve God from a heart overflowing with gratitude for the great sacrifice which He has made for us in humbling Himself and coming into the world to walk among us and finally to be crucified as a guilty criminal in our place.

This is the whole theme of the New Testament. To deny the need for the substitutionary atonement of Christ is to deny the blood of the Everlasting Covenant by which we are saved from wrath (the just punishment of God's Law). This is not "dark speech" but rather the very Light of the Gospel of Christ which the darkness shall never be able to extinguish (John 1:5). If the Biblical concept of forensic justification by grace alone through faith alone in the imputed righteousness of the Sinless One, Jesus Christ alone is in any way lost sight of by the Church, all that is left is a humanistic moralism of salvation by a moral change within the heart of man. This is the very basis of the Roman Catholic system of justification by imparted righteousness. The great breakthrough of the 16th century Protestant Reformation was the restoration of the primacy of justification by faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ as the sinner's assurance of eternal life.

Sanctification and overcoming sin in the life of the Christian is the FRUIT of justification. Thus repentance and faith and good works will be the continual fruit of hearing and continually believing the gospel of the Cross of Christ. In "works oriented" systems of salvation, repentance and good works are the BASIS of acceptance with God to make us "safe to save". In the "grace oriented" true plan of salvation, repentance and good works are the fruit of the good news that we are NOW accepted as God's child unto eternal life, because Christ has fulfilled all the requirements of the Law of God for us. Christ's good works are freely imputed to our account so that we may be free to love and serve as Sons rather than Slaves.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

His oath, His covenant, and blood support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found.
Clad in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

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