Pristine Grace

How Can Man Be Just With God?
by Henry Mahan

     The great and important question for you and me always has been and is now. "How can man be just with God?" I do not deny an interest in the mysteries of providence and the matters of prophecy, but the most important matter to me at all times – and it increases as I grow older and approach the day of judgment – is, "How can I stand before God justified and accepted?" Woe to the man who shall be weighed and found wanting!

     "If I justify myself," job declared, "my own mouth would condemn me." If I say that I am without sin and holy enough for God's fellowship, I would be a liar and make God a liar!

     But Paul declares "It is God that justifieth." He can, by the substitution and satisfaction of His Son, make the unjust, just and the unclean, clean! He can cover us with a perfect robe of righteousness, so that we are as holy and pure as the Redeemer Himself. And the important thing is that God can justify us in a way that is consistent with His holiness, glorifying to His mercy, honoring to His law and which completely satisfies His justice.

     As the first Adam stood before God as the representative and federal head of the whole human race and as it was by his sin that guilt and sin were both imputed and imparted to us, so God in grace sent Christ the second Adam, the Lord Jesus, to stand in our stead that we might in, and through, and by Him, has imputed and imparted to us a perfect righteousness. "By the disobedience of one the many became sinners, so by the obedience of One shall the many be made righteous."

     This is the good news to the guilty and good tidings of great joy to the helpless. The great writer and preacher Isaac Watts declared on his death bed, "I bless God that His promises are so plain and simple that I do not need great wisdom to grasp them – my hope is simply in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, my Lord!"