On the general subject of these objections, Philippi, Glaubenslehre, iv, 2:156-180, remarks:
(1) That it rests with God alone to say whether he will pardon sin, and in what way he will pardon it.
(2) That human instincts are a very unsafe standard by which to judge the procedure of the Governor of the universe and
(3) that one plain declaration of God, with regard to the plan of salvation, proves the fallacy and error of all reasoning against it. We must correct our watches and clocks by astronomic standards.
(a) A God who does not pardon sin without atonement must lack either omnipotence or love. We answer, on the one hand, that God?s omnipotence is the revelation of his nature and not a matter of arbitrary will and, on the other hand, that God?s love is ever exercised consistently with his fundamental attribute of holiness, so that while holiness demands the sacrifice, love provides it. Mercy is shown, not by trampling upon the claims ofjustice, but by vicariously satisfying them.
Because man does not need to avenge personal wrongs, it does not follow that God must not. In fact, such avenging is forbidden to us upon the ground that it belongs to God. <451219>Romans 12:19 ? ?Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord? But there are limits even to our passing over of offenses. Even the father must sometimes chastise and although this chastisement is not properly punishment, it becomes punishment, when the father becomes a teacher or a governor. Then, other than personal interests come in. ?Because a father can forgive without atonement, it does not follow that the state can do the same? (Shedd). But God is more than Father, more than Teacher is, more than Governor is. In him, person and right are identical. For him to let sin go unpunished is to approve of it, which is the same as a denial of holiness.
Whatever pardon is granted, then, must be pardon through punishment. Mere repentance never expiates crime, even under civil government. The truly penitent man never feels that his repentance constitutes a round of acceptance; the more he repents, the more he recognizes his need of reparation and expiation. Hence God meets the demand of man?s conscience, as well as of his own holiness, when he provides a substituted punishment. God shows his love by meeting the demands of holiness, and
Was this article helpful?