A. Remission of punishment.
(a) God acquits the ungodly ones who believe in Christ and declares them just. This is not to declare them innocent for that would be a judgment contrary to truth. It declares that the demands of the law have been satisfied with regard to them, and that they are now free from its condemnation.
<450405> Romans 4:5 ? ?But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness?; cf. <430316>John 3:16 ? ?gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish?; see page 856, (a) , and Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:549. <450501>Romans 5:1 ? ?Being therefore justified by faith, we ?have peace with God? ? not subjective peace or quietness of mind, but objective peace or reconciliation, the opposite of the state of war in which we are subject to the divine wrath. Dale, Ephesians, 67 ? ?Forgiveness may be defined in personal terms as a cessation of the anger or moral resentment of God against sin, in ethical terms as a release from the guilt of sin, which oppresses the conscience and in legal terms as a remission of the punishment of sin, which is eternal death.?
(b) This acquittal, in so far as it is the act of God as judge or executive, administering law, may be denominated pardon. In so far as it is the act of God as a father personally injured and grieved by sin yet showing grace to the sinner, it is denominated forgiveness.
<330718> Micah 7:18 ? ?Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth over the transgression of the remnant of his heritage??
<19D004> Psalm 130:4 ? ?But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayst be feared.? It is hard for us to understand God?s feeling toward sin. Forgiveness seems easy to us, largely because we are indifferent toward sin. But to the holy One, to whom sin is the abominable thing, which he hates, forgiveness involves a fundamental change of relation and nothing but Christ?s taking the penalty of sin upon him can make it possible. B. Fay Mills: ?A . tender spirited follower of Jesus Christ said to me, not long ago, that it had taken him twelve years to forgive an injury that had been committed against him.? How much harder for God to forgive, since he can never become indifferent to the nature of the transgression!?
(c) In an earthly tribunal, there is no acquittal for those who are proved to be transgressors, for such there is only conviction and punishment. But in God?s government there is remission of punishment for believers, even
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