THE COMING OF CHRIST BEING
GOD’S REQUIREMENT IN RIGHTEOUSNESS
The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth was God’s requirement in righteousness; it was not God’s requirement in grace. This is a very serious word. If there had been love without righteousness, the Lord Jesus would not have needed to come to the earth, and the cross would have been unnecessary. Because of the problem of righteousness the Lord Jesus had to come. Without righteousness, God could save us any way He wants to. He could overlook our sins, or He could forgive them lightly. He could take a permissive attitude toward our sins, or He could be completely unconcerned about them. If God said, "Since all have sinned, I will let you go this time; just do not sin again," there would be no need for a Jesus of Nazareth in the first place. Apart from the requirement of righteousness, there was no need for Jesus of Nazareth to come. The coming of Jesus of Nazareth was a requirement of righteousness.
When sin entered the world, God’s government was damaged. His prescribed order in the universe was broken; His glory was trodden under; His holiness was profaned; His authority was rejected; and His truth was misunderstood. When sin entered the world, Satan laughed and the angels testified that man had failed and had fallen. If God were to judge sin mercilessly, He would be without love. But if He were to let man’s sins go without judging them, He would be without righteousness. Because God loves the world and, at the same time, He is righteous, He had to send the Lord Jesus to us. Because He is righteous, He had to judge sin. Because He is love, He had to bear man’s sins for him. I must emphasize these two statements: God must judge because He is righteous. And God bears man’s judgment and punishment because He is love. Without judgment, we see no righteousness; with judgment, we see no love. However, what He did was to bear the judgment on our behalf. In this way, He manifests both His love and His righteousness in Jesus Christ.
THE CROSS MANIFESTING
GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOVE
Hence, the cross is where God’s righteousness is manifested. The cross shows us how much God hates sin. He is determined to judge sin. He was willing to pay such a great price as to have His Son nailed on the cross. God was not willing to give up His righteousness. If God were willing to give up His righteousness, the cross would have been unnecessary. Because God was not willing to give up His righteousness, He preferred to have His Son die rather than give up His righteousness.
The cross is also the place where God’s love is manifested. The burden for our sins should be on us. If we do not bear it, it is unrighteous. But to bear such a burden is too much for us. For this reason, He came and bore it for us. That God was willing to bear the burden shows His love. That God actually did bear the burden shows His righteousness. For God to have us bear the punishment is righteousness without love. For God to have us not bear the punishment is love without righteousness. Because He takes away the punishment and bears it for us, there is both righteousness and love. Hallelujah! The cross meets the requirement of righteousness and the requirement of love. Our salvation today is not "backdoor merchandise"; we have not received it fraudulently or improperly. We have not been saved illegally. We have been saved in a clear and definite way through judgment.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)