But the One offended isn’t simply a human, or a once sinful but now “glorified” man, but the infinitely holy, infinitely righteous, infinitely sin-hating, never-having-sinned God! Jesus’ own perfect never-having-sinned righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26) was not something superior to the Father’s. Obviously, then—ipso facto—God the Father has never sinned.
David, adulterer and murderer by proxy, recognized his sin was far more than just something done to Uriah. He wrote, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4). Sin, all sin, is infinitely sinful, and therefore infinitely punishable, because it is against that infinite, sinless God, who alone deserves and has right to our absolutely undeviating perfect love and obedience (which not one of us has ever offered Him).
To even think, much less propose, that unforgiven sin merits anything less than infinite and eternal punishment completely disregards the infinite nature and character of God. And whether all sin by all men, or only one sin by one man (James 2:10) sin can only be forgiven by an infinite atonement that meets the standard of His infinite righteousness. Jesus met that standard. Infinite righteousness. That is what Jesus did; that is what Jesus has; and that is what Jesus credits, to whomever He chooses to save.
When God speaks of crediting righteousness to a person (e.g. Romans 4:3, 5-8; 5:17; Philippians 3:9) He is not speaking of something that can be divvied up like a commodity and parceled out as needed, to fill up this or that lack or deficiency. God’s righteousness is whole, complete, and indivisible. When God credits righteousness, it is not righteousness by man’s reckoning that He is crediting, but righteousness by God’s reckoning. The only righteousness that is righteousness is God’s righteousness, and again, “In Him there is no darkness at all.” Absolute perfection of character is God’s righteousness, is Christ’s righteousness, and is the righteousness that God credits to believers.
Nothing they could ever do, not even ceasing to sin, is equal to it, or sufficient to induce or obligate God to forgive sin, or to apply or credit his righteousness to them. He “justifies the ungodly” (Rom 4:5) simply as a gift, paid for by the blood of Jesus, and freely given to those who accept and trust in it alone as His means of saving them. Believing that is saving, believing, faith— the faith that is counted for righteousness by God.
Those who even think or trust that their sin tainted righteousness can have any place whatever, in satisfying God’s Law, appeasing His wrath against their sin, or in winning some portion of their forgiveness, have no understanding of God, his righteousness, their own sin, or the nature of the atonement and all it accomplished. They are guilty, as said before, of an infinitely deep, infinitely offensive insult to God and to Christ’s blood and righteousness. “...not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” They are, in fact, attempting to supplant God’s righteousness with their own standard, and demanding His acceptance of it. They will be punished accordingly.
Timothy Oliver was raised as a Seventh-Day-Adventist, and in is late teens became an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ--Latter Day Saints (LDS) and a missionary for them. After being confronted with questions during his mission, which he could not answer, he finally was saved by the sovereign grace of God Almighty. He is a friend and consultant to RethinkingAdventism.com and a regular contributor.
Timothy Oliver is currently an active missionary in Malaysia, along with his wife Suzie. If you are interested in supporting them make your check or payment out to:
P.O. Box 305
Santaquin, UT 84665
For more background information and ministry information and ways to support Timothy and Suzie Oliver -- click HERE.