Read: Romans 4:13-25
Yesterday we left Balaam on the heights of Moab blessing Israel when Balak had hired him to curse God’s people. Balaam spoke in the same way the donkey spoke, when the donkey attempted to prevent him from going to Moab to curse Israel. God caused the donkey to speak words of warning to Balaam. God caused Balaam to speak words of blessing when he wanted to curse.
But in the middle of the camp of Israel was the tabernacle and the priests going about their work of sacrificing, and the smoke of their sacrifices rose towards the sky. And so, when Balaam was forced against his will to bless Israel and when he said, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel:” Balaam added, “the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.”
God was saying through wicked Balaam, “I see no sin in this nation because I am with them and Christ, their king, is among them.”
Israel was righteous. And that meant that when Balak and Balaam wanted to curse Israel for Israel’s many sins (and they were terrible), God said, as it were, “How can I curse them? I do not see any sin in them. All I see is a righteous and holy people. They can only be blessed.”
What could be the reason for this? The answer is that, as our teacher points out to us, we are righteous in Christ.
Christ is righteous because of His death on the cross. All our sins were made the sins of Christ, and all the guilt of all the sins of all the people of God were placed on Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Cor. 5:21).
Christ was made responsible for all our sins and guilt. For them, he went to the cross on which God poured out all the wrath he had against all the sins of all the elect. Christ suffered what God’s people should have suffered.
Christ paid the debt that was our debt, and by His perfect obedience he earned for us righteousness. If our debt is paid, we are now righteous.
This was a legal transaction. Legally, Christ stood before God’s bar of justice and God condemned Christ to die for the debt of all the elect. Christ did this willingly, and paid that debt by bearing all the guilt of our sins. He, therefore, became, though guilty for our sins, perfectly righteous.
But that righteousness God imputed to us. Not because of what we had done, but because of what Christ had done. “[He] was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
And so our teacher reminds us that we are righteous before God, in Christ.
This great work of God is called justification. The word literally means, to make just or righteous. It is God’s declaration that he sees no sin in us.
What a wonderful blessing that is! We can sing, “How blest is he whose trespass hath freely been forgiven” (Psalter No. 83).
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
Address725 Baldwin Dr. B-25
State or ProvinceMI