Funny thing about studying doctrine — once a teaching gets a hold of your mind, you start to see it everywhere. The doctrine of “Justification by Faith” teaches that what God demands He provides. Piper sums it up nicely, “God requires two things of us: punishment for our sins and perfection in our lives. Our sins must be punished, and our lives must be righteous. But we cannot bear our own punishment (Ps. 49:7-8), and we cannot provide our own righteousness. “None is righteous; no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). Therefore, God, out of His immeasurable love for us, provided His own Son to do both. Christ bears our punishment, and Christ performs our righteousness. And when we receive Christ (John 1:12), all of His punishment and all of His righteousness is counted as ours (Rom. 4:4-6; 5:1, 19; 8:1; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9).”
This gospel hymn, so rich in biblical theology, expresses all we have to be thankful for. There is much! One day when you were at war with God – not looking for peace, God subdued you and miraculously opened your eyes. He didn’t do this because He saw something special, spiritual, or even willing in you. He did it because He is Sovereign.Whereas you should have been an object of His wrath, you received mercy. He forgave all your sins (and there were many!) and He covered you in the righteousness of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. And one day, when this life is over, you will be seated, clothed in robes of righteousness, at the most important banquet of all!
How Sweet and Awful is the Place
How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.
While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cries, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?”
“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.
Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.
We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race May,
with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.
Isaac Watts, 1674-1748