26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
If God forgave sin without a permanent sacrifice for sin, He could be charged with injustice or inconsistency with His own character. Because He did provide a sacrifice for sin, He is just.
26 to demonstrate at the present time [season] His righteousness [God’s righteousness; His consistency in always acting according to the standards of His own character],
Verse 25 argues the demonstration of propitiation of sins prior to the cross, but verse 26 makes the same argument as a permanent principle of the New Testament.
Paul here repeated the idea of verse 25b about God demonstrating His righteousness or justice. The phrase “at the present time” is a pivotal point of history. The Greek word “time” is season. A “season” is not a moment in time or even the passage of time but quality of time, time with significance. Christ’s coming was the appointed time when God finally dealt with the sin of mankind. The sacrifice of Christ for sin was what God demonstrated for all to see.
The cross exonerated God from the charge that He passed over sins before the day of Christ. God maintained His righteousness by providing the ultimate answer to man’s salvation. He never condoned sin by overlooking it. The Old Testament sacrificial system was only a temporary suspension of judgment on sins.
That [purpose] He might be just [righteous or true to Himself]
God is the performer throughout this passage. This is crucial to the interpretation of this section of Romans. God is just both in what He does and in that He is the One who provides the means of justification. Faith merely accepts what God provides.
It was crucial to God that He be deemed as “just.” An unjust absolute God is unthinkable. God must always be true to Himself or He would not be the God the Bible portrays Him to be. God is just because He acts according to His own absolute standards. God is able to forgive sins righteously and consistently because of the cross. God presented Christ’s death as a demonstration of His righteous justice. Justice and mercy unite in justification.
“Just” means that God is true to His absolute nature. God justifies the justification of sinners by the death of Christ for sinners. He took their hell so that they might have His heaven.
Our sin is either on us or on the Savior.
A righteous God cannot overlook the sin issue. God’s solution to sin is found in the Savior He Himself provided for us. God vindicates His justice by sacrificing His Son for our sin. The cross is what makes it possible for God to maintain His righteousness and justice.
Either we bear our sin or we believe that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Either sin is on us or it is on the Savior. If the judgment of sin did not fall on Christ, it would have been necessary that it fall on us. Which will you choose?
He 10:28-29, 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
The central problem in salvation is bound to the nature of God. He cannot operate independently of His nature. He must hate sin because He is holy. His nature is unchanged and unchangeable. That is why He is “just.”