We believe in Jesus Christ… who was crucified, died and was buried, and descended into the grave.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of His blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
If justice is to be worthy of its name, it must be absolutely fair. The Bible tells us that God hates “acquitting the guilty and condemning theinnocent.” (Proverbs 17:15).
Why then does God not immediately strike down the wicked? Rarely, if ever, do human beings get what they deserve: tyrants and dictators live long and comfortable lives, while more petty offenders find that crime usually pays. God’s forbearance means that most sins go unpunished (in this life, at any rate) and people have come to realise that – by and large – they can do whatever they like and get away with it (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
Why did Adam and Eve not die immediately when they ate the forbidden fruit, as God had warned (Genesis 2:17)?
Why, when David was ‘convicted’ of adultery and murder, did God not punish him (at least, not directly)? Instead, the prophet Nathan informed him, “The LORD has taken away your sin.” (II Samuel 12:13) How?
And most of all, why did Jesus, the most innocent of all men, suffer and die so horribly? Where is the justice in that?
The Cross is (amongst many other things) the place where God judged all the sin of the world. The punishment for all our evil, all our wrongdoing, was delayed until it could be focused on Jesus – and He took it upon Himself, so that no sinner would have to pay for their sins. Here, in His public execution, God’s justice has not only been done but has been seen to have been done.