How Can God Forgive in the Judgment Hour?
When Christ died on the cross, God judged the entire human family in Him and thus Jesus died for the sins of the entire human family. Just as sin came to the human family by Adam's sin, even so by the life and death of Jesus, all who repent and believe in Christ are accounted to have been judged, punished, and put to death in Him. And not only are those who believe in Christ accounted to have died in Christ, in Christ all who believe are accounted to be as sinless as Jesus. Thus the Law of God is fully satisfied by the life (righteousness that is equal to the very righteousness of God) of Jesus and by the death (propitiation or substitutionary death) of Jesus. Jesus then became the divine Representative and Substitute for those repentant sinners of the human family who believe. Thus Jesus is the Mediator or High Priest for all those who are of faith. Please read the following two Bible passages:
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made (accounted) Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made (accounted) the righteousness of God in Him.
Romans 5:15-19 For if through the offence of one (Adam) many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift (the verdict of justification) by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one (Adam) that sinned, so is the gift (the verdict of justification): For the judgment was by one (Adam) to condemnation, but the free gift (the verdict) is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's (Adam's) offence, death reigned by one (Adam) ; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift (the verdict) of righteousness (justification) shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus Christ) the free gift (the verdict) came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one (Adam) man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made (accounted) righteous (or justified).
Divine forgiveness is not amnesty. Amnesty is to waive the punishment of the broken Law and not to impose the penalty. Divine forgiveness of a sinner is by propitiation or payment of the penalty. Our debt to the Law however is so great that we could never hope to pay all that we owed. Therefore God in His loving mercy has paid the debt for us in the gift of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to the earth not only to live a sinless life as our Example, He came to the earth to die for us as our Substitute. The death penalty fell upon His holy person and when He died, God accounted those who would believe to have died. So God imputes the perfect life and the atoning death of Jesus to the believing repentant sinner. Those who are in Christ have the verdict of Life, even life eternal. As the Apostle Paul declares in Romans 1:17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall LIVE (have the verdict of life, acquittal) by faith.
And Paul also states in Galatians 3:11-13
But that no man is justified (declared innocent) by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall LIVE by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse (the death penalty) of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
With these verses in mind we may better grasp the meaning of the well know Christian Bible verse:
John 3:13-18 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
May God bless His people as they daily cast their helpless and unworthy souls at the foot of the Cross and allow Jesus to cover them with His blood and fill them with His Spirit. Amen.