References: I John 2:1-2; Rom. 5
Satisfaction: the means (actual payment) to meet legal requirements
We’re talking about meeting a legal requirement because the rightful authority has been offended. Satisfaction indicates the violation has been paid for.
Another term I use is the word “remedy.” When you have a legal problem, perhaps in a civil suit, you must go to court to get it resolved. The settlement by the court is the remedy, which meets the need.
The blood of Christ is the remedy, the payment required for sin (rebellion against God). When the blood of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is presented to God, it serves as payment for the debt owed. When you write out a check as payment for the speeding ticket, the state official takes it, thus declaring, “We are now satisfied.” Everything is okay in your relationship.
The blood of Jesus is the remedy, provided by God, for our disobedience.
God’s demand for satisfaction
Once again we need to be precise in our understanding of things here. God spoke very clearly to Adam regarding what would happen the day they sinned. Keep in mind, this consequence applies to all humans. They would die.
That is the core of what we need to understand. To rebel and turn away from God is to lose life. It means being under the judgment of God. God is not just some jealous person whose friend left him and befriended someone else. Yes, God is a jealous God — because He is the only God.
We also want to be very careful that we do not see the justice of God pitted against the loving grace of God.
Based on a holy God
Consider carefully here who God is. His very character is holy. As the creator and sovereign ruler, He demands, rightfully so, absolute holiness before Him. To come before God or to live before God in any way other than with perfect holiness rightfully demands God mete out judgment.
Consider the state’s authority again. Violating its authority, an authority given by God, means being under its judgment. You cannot have authority without judgment or consequences for violation.
Lawlessness, or violating the holiness of God, means being under His holy judgment. This fact brings forward a very, very important point: if God did not require payment for sin, He would not be a holy God. Consequently, He would then in reality not be God… and to speak of the love of God would be meaningless as well.
Based on the life we have in God
You may ask, why so harsh? Why the shed blood? In the first sermon of this series, considering the question of comfort, we noted the importance of understanding who man is and who God is. We examined the point that man is the creature, made in the image of God, whose life is provided and sustained by God the creator. This explains why death can be the only result when the relationship is severed. Life comes from God; life is continuously sustained by God. There can be no life apart from God. Death can be the only result of sin; thus death, the shedding of blood, can be the only thing that Christ can do if he is to be sin for us.
There is a lot of theology wrapped up in this. There are many passages of Scripture useful to expound this point. So let me make just two applications.
Consider first the entire sacrificial system in the Old Testament. A lamb had to be sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat as a payment to the judgment of God. The lamb represented Christ; it pointed to what Christ had to do.
The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was not demanded by an angry God, as though now in the New Testament we have a nicer God, one of grace who gives us Christ. Rather, the system of blood pictures Christ satisfying the wrath of God.
Now follow with me in Romans 6:3-6. It explains how, by faith, we have union with Christ. We are dead in sin; Christ dies; in Him we share in the death to sin. Literally, sin is put to death. In His resurrection, we are provided with new life as well.
Let us be very clear: God is a God of love, and by His grace we are saved. But it is by His grace that He provides the remedy for sin. Scripture’s warnings about God’s wrath over sin may not in any way be softened. It is indeed an awful thing to be under the judgment of God for sin. There is no life there; there is only misery and the certain consequences of an eternity spent in a lake of fire.
There is no conflict between the justice of a holy God and the grace of a God of love. God has indeed provided for His judgment to be satisfied.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.