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meted out by the King of Heaven  – all   the claims of justice were satisfied by a
        sins are crimes against God. But the mercy   willing, sinless, substitutionary sacrifice.
        extended to Rahab and the Gibeonites in   This “was to show his righteousness at
        Canaan is also characteristic of the heart   the present time, so that he might be just
        of God. His judgment is just, but God   and the justifier of the one who has faith
        also uses His justice as a backdrop to   in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).
        more clearly reveal the radiant glory of   The cross work of the Lord Jesus not
        His mercy.                            only justifies God in saving sinners, but
           Genesis 3:15 is sometimes called the   it also points us to a resolution when our
        protoevangelium – it is the first (proto)   feeble, fallen minds are still struggling
        glimmer of the gospel (evangelium).   with  God’s  wrath.  When  God  judged
        Tellingly, this first gospel message contains   the Canaanites, His desire was to purge
        a word of judgment – the enemy’s head is   the land of idolatry, that the chosen seed
        bruised (and humanity will experience   may fulfill its mission to represent the
        pain and conflict, cf. vv16-17). Yet the   living God of salvation to the world.
        message is blended with surprising mercy   Whereas the nation failed in its mission,
        – the human couple’s physical lives   the ultimate seed of Abraham and the true
        continue, and the woman’s seed will   Israelite, Jesus Christ, did not. The point
        ultimately triumph. “Salvation comes   is, God’s judgments upon the Canaanites
        through judgment.”  More than that, God   displayed His holy hatred of sin and were
        graciously says, “Mercy triumphs over   also part of His program of redemption
        judgment” (Jas 2:13).                 through history – both concepts that led
                                              finally to the cross of Christ. There, God
        The Cross Justifies God               did something much more profound

          If we had a better perspective on God’s   than merely executing justice – He took
        righteousness, our challenge would not be   the judgment Himself, in the Person of
        understanding God’s judgment on sinners   His Son.
        but understanding His mercy and love    In light of what God has accomplished
        towards them. If God is God, He must   and revealed of Himself in the cross,
        always be just, in everything He does – and   man has no excuse for refusing God’s
        that includes declaring sinners righteous.   salvation. “The times of ignorance God
        How can that be just? The answer is in   overlooked, but now he commands all
        the atoning cross work of Christ, who   people everywhere to repent, because he
        is Himself God. “The LORD has laid on   has fixed a day on which he will judge the
        him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6), and   world in righteousness by a man whom
                                              he has appointed; and of this he has given
        ¹³ This title is used only once in Scripture
        – when Nebuchadnezzar praises God and   assurance to all by raising him from the
        declares “all his works are right and his ways   dead” (Act 17:30-31). He can righteously
        are just” (Dan 4:37).                 save, and He can righteously judge. “The
        ¹⁴ Hamilton. This oft-repeated line reflects the
        essence of Hamilton’s argument: “God’s Glory   Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways
        in Salvation Through Judgment” is the central   are  justice. A  God  of  faithfulness  and
        theme of the Bible. I am not convinced that is   without iniquity, just and upright is he”
        THE overarching storyline of God’s revelation,   (Deu 32:4).
        but the book is a helpful, though challenging,
        read.                                 ¹⁵ See Gen 12:3; Isa 43:10.

        38   TRUTH kTidings   February  2020
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