“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).
In creation, God demonstrated His eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:20). In Christ, God demonstrated His grace and truth (John 1:17). At Calvary, God demonstrated His righteousness (Romans 3:25-26).
Because Christ could not come until the fullness of time had come (Galatians 4:4), God—in forbearance—had to pass over the sins committed prior to the cross. His holy wrath against all human ungodliness and unrighteousness—though kindled—could not and was not fully expressed.
A just recompense for sin, vindicating and demonstrating God’s righteousness, had to be postponed until Calvary. God did not compromise His righteousness nor was He slack concerning His promises of sin and death, but because of His wondrous display of longsuffering patience, slanderous doubts about His righteousness could be raised.
How can a genuinely holy God overlook sin among the Gentiles (Acts 17:30) or accept the woefully inadequate blood of bulls and goats as atonement for sin among the Jews (Hebrews 10:4)? Is He really righteous, or is His proclamation of righteousness actually a charade?
In God’s final demonstration—of His righteousness at Golgotha—His perfect justice and the riches of His mercy are perfectly and righteously wedded together. Psalm 85:10 is on display and is forever etched into human history.
God is both just and the justifier of everyone who has faith in Jesus.