In chapter after chapter of the book of Jeremiah, the prophet teaches the same lesson: God is a holy God who does not overlook sin but brings sinners to judgement.
Those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 9:24)
The prophet says that to truly know and understand the Lord is to know and experience his unfailing love as well as his righteous judgment. And yet, how can he truly and fully demonstrate both? How can a loving God punish sin? But then, how can a just God simply overlook or excuse sin?
It is in Christ alone that God’s unfailing love and his righteous justice embrace. Through Christ and his substitutionary death on the cross, God demonstrated his love for sinners as well as his just judgment against sin. Paul explained how God’s love and justice come together in Christ:
God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin….God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. (Romans 3: 24-26)
Jeremiah and his contemporaries did not know how God would demonstrate both unfailing love and righteous judgment on sin. They simply trusted without seeing it clearly. But on this side of the cross, we see what God intended all along – to demonstrate his love and his justice through the death of Christ.
Let us boast in this.
Prayer – I was made to boast, Lord. But too often I have boasted in the wrong things. Now I see that there is one thing worthy of boasting about – who you are and what you’ve done for a guilty sinner like me! I will boast of your unfailing love and your righteous judgment forever.
Song: Unfailing Love by Chris Tomlin
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,