The Just Justifier
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 2 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Kisses of Calvary)
(Preached at First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana, March 15, 1964. Mechanically recorded)
Why did God make men? Why did God let man sin in the Garden of Eden? These and other questions I hope to answer. “That he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26)
Near the end of the Civil War it is said that Abraham Lincoln took a tombstone to a typical grave of a soldier, and placed the tombstone on the grave with the words: “My Substitute.” The particular body and grave represented all the others who had died in the Civil War.
This morning I take you to our tombstone on which we would engrave the words: “Our Substitute.” I take you to Calvary, a little hill on the northern side of Jerusalem, just outside the city walls, a conspicuous spot. Nearby runs a highway. This place is called in the Bible a place of the skull, perhaps because the little hill is shaped like a skull. Other have advanced the possibility that it was called the place of a skull because it was the place where many had died and their bones lay around the foot of the cross. Whatever the purpose was, it was called Calvary, which means the place of a skull.
The streams of ancient history all end at Calvary, and the beginning of all the rivers of modern history starts at Calvary. The eyes of Old Testament days looked toward Calvary; the eyes of modern civilization look back to Calvary. Calvary is the hub of the world. Geographically, it is in the center of the world. Theologically, it is in the center of all Christian preaching and religion.
Think today for a minute. How many people right now on the Lord's day are thinking of Calvary? I suspect that more people are thinking this very day, this very hour, of Calvary than any other single subject. Truly Calvary is the hub of history, the hub of our speaking; Calvary is the center of poetry, art, sculpture, religion. Calvary--authors have tried to pen the beauty of this word:
Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's vein's;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame.
The most popular song ever written--it leads the gospel hit parade and has for many, many years--is “The Old Rugged Cross.” Said the author--
Oh, that old rugged cross so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me.
And so Calvary is the center of history. Now what is so important about Calvary? A Man died! Men have died before. A man died on a cross! Thousands have died on a cross before. What is so important about Calvary?
The liberals say He died to show us how to die. The modernists say He died as our example. No, they miss the hub entirely. What is the purpose of Calvary? What is it all about? I want to answer or attempt to answer this question by answering five other questions that are very basic, and then taking you to the purpose of Calvary.
Why did God Make Man?
The first question is: Why did God make man in the first place? What is it all about? Did you ever wonder why you are here? Do you ever wonder why God made man such as we? Why did God make man?
The answer is very simple. God made man to fellowship with Himself. This is so important, yet we miss it. You know, God is like us! People oftentimes wonder, “What is God like?´ The answer is very simple. God is like us, except that He is not sinful. But in the nature of God, the attributes of God, the personality of God, He is like us because the Bible said that man was made in the image of God. If God is like us He is a God of emotions. He is a God of anger, a God of love, a God of compassion, a God who desires fellowship. Who among us wants to hermitize himself and live somewhere alone without fellowship with others?
So it was with God. God, being a God of love and fellowship, had a desire to fellowship with a creature. So God made Himself a race. From the dust He made Adam, from his rib made a woman, and God made them for fellowship with Himself.
The worse condition man can know is not to be loved. I cannot get away from the story about Charles Sumner who on his deathbed said the worst thing about it was that he had never heard anybody say, “I love you.” None of us wants to live alone. All of us want fellowship. All of us want to be loved and want to love others.
So it was with the great heart of Almighty God. God wanted the creation to love Him. Oh, He had the angels, but God wanted creation to love Him, so He made man in His own image so He could fellowship with man. how many times have I said, If you are not in fellowship with God, you are not fulfilling the divine purpose for your life. God made you for Himself. You were not made to sin. You were not made for Satan. You were not made to go away from God. You were not made to stay home from church. You were not made to leave the Bible out of your life. You were not made to turn prayer away. YOU WERE MADE FOR GOD. You who do not fellowship with God and walk with God are living without fulfilling the ultimate purpose that every man was made for--fellowship with his Creator.
Why Did God Let Man Sin?
The second question I would ask leading up to the purpose of Calvary: Why did God let man sin?
That question has been asked of me by thousands of people through these years. “Preacher, I believe in God, but why would a loving and kind God let man go into sin?” Let me make one statement quickly: God could have kept man from going into sin. But God chose to make man where he could sin. Now, why would God do such a thing? The answer is very simple. God wanted someone to love Him, but He wanted us to choose to love Him. If there were some discovery made where you husbands could take some serum, put it in a needle, stick it in your wife´s arm and she would have to love you, not a one of you would want that. You would not want her to wake up in the morning, walk in like a robot and say, “I-love-you. I-love-you. I-love-you.” You want your wife to choose to love you.
God made a race because God is like us--He wants love. God does not want the love of someone who has no will. He made a race because He wanted to fellowship with that race and wanted someone to love Him. God, the great heart of love; God, the great source of love; God, the great giver of love; God, the great lover. he could love like no one could love, and wants to be loved like no one ever wanted to be loved. God said, “I want my race to love Me because they want to love me.” So God gave us a choice to love Him or not to love Him. And do you know what? Man did love Him. Man loved Him and man fellowshipped with Him. Oh, how happy that made God!
This morning Mrs. Hyles drove the great big car and I drove the little bitty bug and we came to church. When we left she said, “Who is going with me?” I always hope somebody will choose to go with me. Becky said, “Mother, I will go with you.” I said, “Oh.” Linda said, “I´ll go with you, Mother.” “Oh.” Cindy: “I´ll go with you, too.” “Oh.” David said, “I want to go with Daddy.” I didn't mind that a bit. Something in me wants to be loved. Everybody wants to be loved. None of us get too much loving. We are made in the image of God and if we want loving, think how much God wants love. God gave us a choice.
How happy He was when every day Adam and Eve would fellowship with Him. The purpose for God's creation had been fulfilled. Adam and Eve were walking with God. Every day they had had fellowship. God would come and walk in the cool of the garden with Adam and Eve. how sweet was their fellowship. how wonderful was their union. God made man to love Him, and man did fellowship with Him. How happy that made the loving heart of God. That was the purpose of creation. Then came sin.
Every morning God came to the garden where Adam was and God would call, “Adam, Adam!” Adam would answer, “Yes, Lord. Here I am. Eve, the morning has come; let us go talk with the Lord.” Oh, the sweetness of fellowship! We know a little bit about it. We have never seen it, yet we know what it is to fellowship in our hearts with our Creator, our Maker. God would talk, then Eve would talk, then Adam would talk. Adam would say, “Lord, I love you today.” The Lord would say, “Adam, that is what I made you for. I love you, too.” and Eve would say, “God, I love you. I love you!” Oh, the sweetness of fellowship as they enjoyed the fragrances and delicacies of Eden's garden.
But one day God came walking in the garden. “Good morning, Adam. Adam, it is the Lord.” There was no answer. “Oh, Adam! Adam! It is the Lord.” Still no answer. Adam and Eve had hid themselves behind the trees and made a covering of fig leaves. The Lord said, “Adam, you sinned, didn't you? You listened to Satan, didn't you? You did wrong, didn't you?”
Oh, listen. God is like we are. All of the sorrow that a mother has had, and the breakage of heart of a wayward son, the agony of the heart of a mother; add to that all the broken hearts of the wives whose husbands have left them, and broken fellowship, and divorce; add to that all the broken hearts of fathers whose sons have gone into sin; add to that all the broken hearts of little children whose fathers and mothers have left them; add to that all the brokenness of fellowship the world has ever known--and you come a little close to the broken heart of our Heavenly Father. he had made man to fellowship with Him. That is what it was all about. Man has broken the fellowship with God.
You love your wife but if she came to you this morning and said, “I´m leaving; I'm running off; I'm not going to live with you any more; it is all over,” not a one of you men but what would have a heart that was broken and crushed because of that broken fellowship.
If one of you ladies had a husband come this morning to say, “I love another,” and he went off to live with another, oh, the broken heart that you would feel because of broken fellowship.
We are made in the image of God. If God can love greater than we can love, then cannot God's heart be broken? The fellowship was broken and God was heartbroken. he was grieved because man had left Him. Think of the heart of God. And the reason God did not make man so he could not sin is that God wanted man to love him. This morning if you are out of fellowship with God, if you are not a Christian, if you do not know that you are saved and you do not walk with God, you grieve the heart of the Heavenly Father such as no one has ever been grieved before because no one can love like God can love.
Why Did God Not Just Forgive Man's Sin?
God did not make man for fellowship with Himself. God did not let man sin. The third question, Why did God just not forgive man's sin then? Why didn't God say to Adam and Eve, “Come on back, you are forgiven. Let's restore our fellowship”? God could have done it. Oh, yes, God could have said, “Adam, come on back.” God could have forgiven man without man being condemned to hell. God could have just have said, “Adam, come on back.” But wait a minute. Why did God not just immediately say, “All is forgiven. Come on back and fellowship is restored”? Because God is just, as well as the Justifier. One of the divine laws of God is that sin must be punished by expulsion from God Himself. When Satan sinned in Heaven, God expelled him from Heaven. When the angels sinned with him, God expelled them from Heaven. God is a God who is just and God's justice demands that sin be punished.
On the upper pages of the Edinburgh Review in Edinburgh, Scotland, for many years, there was a little slogan: “The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted.” If God had not punished Adam and Eve, He would not have been just, He would not have kept His word of the divine law that the soul that sinneth it shall die. God would have fallen from His throne. In order to be God and to be just and as a just Justifier, God, with a broken heart, had to condemn man. God didn't say, “Okay, Adam, I hate you. Go on to Hell.” No! No! God loved Adam. God made him and God wanted him. God's righteousness is so wonderful and His justice is so perfect that God had to demand that sin be paid for.
Why Didn't God Just Let Man Go To Hell?
The fourth question. Why didn't God just let man go to Hell then? Ask any mother the answer to that. Ask any mother from whose body came her little baby. It came from her body. It was flesh of her flesh, blood of her blood, bone of her bone. She nurses the baby before the baby can nurture itself. Ask any mother what lengths she would go to, to reclaim any child of her own.
So God looked down and His heart was broken. Now I want you to get this. God is like we are, and God loves. He loves like we love but He loves so much greater than we love. And God is heartbroken like we are heartbroken, and God wants fellowship. The purpose of all of it was a hungering God who wanted a people for Himself. God looked down and saw His people in sin and He said, “I have to demand a penalty for sin. I must demand a penalty for sin.” God could have said right there, “Okay, I'll let man go to Hell.” God could have said right there, “Okay, man had the choice, he chose to sin.....”
People often ask why does a loving God send anybody to Hell? God never did send anybody to Hell. God never sent a soul to Hell. If you burn in Hell, if you die without God, if you someday suffer the torments of the unredeemed and burn in hell without God, don't you blame God for it. God has done everything from Heaven's glory to earth's gory. He even said good-by to His Son and sent Him to die on the cross, and turned His back on His Son. God never sent anybody to Hell. And if you go to hell it will be because you look at God's provision for salvation and trample under your feet His precious blood and His plan and mark your own pathway toward Hell.
God doesn't want you to go to Hell. God loves you and God looked down and said, “I could send them all to Hell, but I don't want to. I love them. I made them. They are My creation. I recall how I used to fellowship with them as we walked in the Garden of Eden. I want that fellowship again. I miss the sweetness that I had with Adam. I miss the days with Eve. I miss the walks in Eden's garden. I miss the fellowship. I miss the ‘I-love-you´s´ they used to give me.” God said, “I´m not going to let them go to Hell, I'm going to give them a plan whereby they will not have to go to Hell.”
And that leads us to the fifth question.
What Did God Do To Keep Us From Hell?
What did God do to keep us from Hell? Why did God make us? For fellowship. Why did God let us sin? He wanted to give us a chance to love Him. Why did God not just forgive us? He could not within His justice and His divine nature of righteousness. Why didn't God let us go to Hell? He loved us too much.
Then what did God do to save us? Listen carefully. it is all summed up in Matthew 27, the verses we read a while ago. God let His Son go to earth and to Calvary. Dying on the cross. Hanging between Heaven and earth, Jesus looked up and cried, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” They said, “He is calling for Elijah. Elijah can't help Him.” No, he wasn't. He was crying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Now what was He doing? In those words He was fulfilling the purpose of Calvary.
Number one. Sin must be paid for by you or by an innocent substitute. Now the priest can't save you because he is not an innocent substitute. That is why Jack Hyles can't save you. I am not an innocent substitute. The church can't save you because the church is composed of people who need saving themselves. You must pay for your sins or there must be found a substitute who does not owe for sin, who is perfect and sinless. And this substitute is found in Jesus Christ Himself. And when this substitute, the Lamb of God, was hanging on Calvary and said, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” there were four things He was doing.
He was bearing our sins. God could never look upon sin and be God. Jesus Christ took your sin and my sin, and paid the price in full. Jesus said, “Put your sin upon Me.” All my sin. All those old dirty words were heaped upon Jesus. All the times you drank and cursed and swore and left God out of your life--all of them were heaped upon Jesus Christ. God said, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The court is in session.” Jesus Christ stood before God. God said, “I see You, Jesus, My Son, as a sinner. I see You becoming sin.” All of our sins were on Him and God hits the gavel of eternal justice and says to His Son, “Guilty! Guilty!” And the guilt of sin means separation from God. God turned His back on His Son and His Son bore your sin and my sin.
You take your choice. Either you bear your own sin or let Jesus bear your sin. Either you stand before God today and God will pronounce judgment upon you, or accept by faith what Jesus did for you on Calvary.
Yesterday morning I was in the basement in my little makeshift office studying. My daughter, Becky, came running and said, “Daddy, come quick! The Jack Ruby trial is on TV from Dallas.” I rushed to the television set and watched the trial. I have never seen any more drama than I saw in that courtroom where I had been, in a building I had passed thousands of times. I saw there a judge I had seen myself many times, and a district attorney whom I had talked to. They brought the judge in the room, the jury came. They handed the judge the paper and he opened it. I said to my little girl, Becky, “This is drama.” That judge opened that paper and said, “We find Jack Ruby guilty and sentence him to death in the electric chair.” I thought of the pomp, the drama, the bigness of it all.
My mind wandered out to that day when Jesus Christ shall stand before you and you shall stand before Him and if you are not a Christian, He will say, “Guilty,” and the punishment will be eternal separation from God Almighty. Jesus took death for you on the cross and when He said, “My God...why hast thou forsaken me?” He was taking your sins and my sins and bearing them on the tree.
The second thing it meant was, He was suffering separation from God for you. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden they paid for that sin by being separated from God. They ran from God. Sin can never stay in the presence of God. That is why you don´t pray because you don´t stay in God´s presence enough. When you sin, it separates from God. You don´t come to church on Sunday night because sin makes you not want to come where God is. You don´t read your Bible because sin separates from God. God said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” And the price for sin is separation from God. When Jesus died on the cross and said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and God turned His back on Him, and Jesus was by Himself, without the Father, He was suffering your separation from God. Now you take your choice. Either you put your faith in Christ and accept the provision of God, or you yourself must be separated from God forever.
The third thing He was doing, he was suffering your Hell. Not that He actually went down into the lake of fire and suffered in Hell, but He suffered our Hell for us. I know that whatever Hess is, Jesus suffered it. I know that all the punishment of Hell, Jesus suffered as your Substitute. Now you have your choice. Either you trust His suffering your Hell, or you go to Hell yourself. Now you take your choice. You mark it down, if you never bow your knee to God, if you never say, “Lord God, be merciful to me a sinner,” and become a Christian by faith in Christ, if you do not accept His payment, you must pay for it yourself and you must go to Hell forever and forever.
You say, “Brother Hyles, you are ruining the worship service.” You need some worship ruined. You have no right to worship God and turn you back upon His Son. Your worship is idolatry if you are not a Christian. You come to church on Sunday morning and want some smooth feeling, some asthetic feeling. You want to have worship with God, yet you have never put your trust and you faith in His son. It´s idolatry and heathenism. The only worship is those that worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Jesus Christ is the truth and either you accept the payment that He paid when he dipped His own soul into Hell and suffered your Hell, or you will have to suffer it yourself. Jesus said, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” He was bearing your sin and my sin. He was suffering your separation from God and my separation from God. He was suffering your Hell and He was suffering my Hell.
Not only that, He was suffering the sum total of what every sinner would ever suffer in Hell. All of it. Jack Hyles deserves to go to Hell. If I were to go to Hell, all the suffering that I would ever suffer in Hell was put on Jesus. All the suffering that Jim Lyons would ever suffer in Hell was put on Jesus. And all the suffering that Charlie Hand would ever suffer in Hell was put upon Jesus. And there with all the sins of the world, God´s Lamb, our Substitute, our Sacrifice, hung.
Bad enough to have the world laughing at Him. Bad enough to be hanging nude on the cross. Bad enough to have nails and spikes in His hands and fee, a crown of thorns on His head. Bad enough to have them slapping Him and spitting in His face and laughing and mocking and jeering and plucking His eyebrows and His fingernails. It was bad enough, but oh, the Father was still there. And I think the Father, who is a loving Father like we are, said, “Son, the time has come.” And the Son said, “It has to be done, all right, I´ll do it, Thy will be done, not Mine.” And the Father said, “Son, I made a race thousands of years ago and I love them. I made them to love Me. I made them to fellowship with Me, but they sinned. And Son, I´m just and I can´t let them come back unless they pay the price. And You are the only one who is sinless that has ever walked the earth.”
Then Jesus said to the Father, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He followed, setting His face like a flint toward Calvary and there suffered the price that you and I deserved to suffer. He suffered our Hell. He bore our sins. He took our punishment. He became our Substitute.
Now He looks to us, His race whom He made and with whom He had fellowship, a race that had fallen, And now a race that He has redeemed. If we will come to God through Jesus Christ by faith, that fellowship can be restored, and for all eternity we can know the communion that Adam and Eve had with God in the Garden of Eden.
May God help you to turn to Him who alone is the just Justifier.
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