By Al Stoner
"But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (Heb. 1:8-9).
This is something that we must learn well about our God and Savior. With Him there is not merely a preference for righteousness, or an occasional inclination to righteousness, or even a determination to side with righteousness. (No, this would be a representation of some of the nobler things in earth more than the things that are in Heaven.) It is declared in Psalm 11:7 that the Lord Jehovah is “the righteous Lord” and that He “loveth righteousness.” “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Ps. 145:17). This is the way that He is, and from which He never deviates, nor can deviate. He cannot deny Himself!
Hear again the words of the Psalmist in this regard. “For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” (Ps. 33:4-5).
There are many in this world who would readily acknowledge the goodness of the Lord, but God’s love for righteousness and judgment is not nearly as widely known or acknowledged among the sons of men. This is an extremely serious matter, for wherever God's love for righteousness is not known and joyfully acknowledged, there men do not really know the God who is the Author of salvation. They are living in practical ignorance of the God that made them. Because of the evil day in which we live, it is necessary for the saints of the Most High God to exhort one another continually regarding matters such as this.
The Case with our Lord Jesus Christ. And, as would be expected, such also is the case with our Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul declares in the above text in Hebrews 1. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity. It was absolutely necessary that He have this perfection in what He loves and what He hates, in order for Him to effectively put away the sins of the world.
The Psalm 45 Text. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows” (Ps. 45:7). This is the word that was quoted by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 1, where he informs us that this word of the Psalmist is actually a conversation between the Father and the Son. “But unto the Son He (that is, the Father) saith . . .” Other similar conversations can be found in Psalms 2:7-9; 102:23-27 and Isaiah 49:3-6. It seems that in texts such as these, particularly, that God earnestly desired to make known His purpose in Christ aforetime.
When we think of Christ dying for our sins, and for the sins of the world, the matter of His qualification for this work eventually comes into mind. What was it that qualified the Son of God to be the Sinbearer of the world? Many would answer, and rightly so, that He did no sin (I Pet. 2:22; Heb. 7:26-27). Yea, Christ magnified the law, and made it honorable (cf. Isa. 42:21). It was necessary that He who was appointed to put away sins be entirely and unquestionably sinless and without fault! However, Christ’s magnifying of the Law, and making it honorable, of itself, was not sufficient to redeem us from sin and condemnation. It was His obedience to the Father in laying down His life a ransom for many that became the grounds for God justifying us, Himself being both just, and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus.
Here in Psalm 45 we see yet another qualification that had to be met by the Savior, and it most certainly was met by Him to the fullest. It was that He loved righteousness, and hated wickedness. It was essential, as we have said, that the One who would take away the sins of the world have these qualities as well, as part and parcel of His glorious Person. Our Savior characteristically possessed this perfect love for righteousness and an uncompromising hatred for wickedness of all sorts, and therefore He qualified to be the One who would put away our sins by the sacrifice of Himself. (This Jesus is very little known among the sons of men.)
God’s Righteousness and the Gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).
All of Scripture attests to the righteousness of God as one of His foremost attributes. But the gospel particularly reveals that God was righteous, and that He did not sin, when He dealt mercifully with sinners. It is a grievous matter to consider, however, that not many, who profess faith in Christ, have come up high enough to be concerned at all about whether or not theirs is a righteous and just salvation. It appears that the thought has never entered their minds about whether it was right for God to save them. But, in the gospel of Christ, God has gone to great lengths to make abundantly plain to men and angels that He was absolutely righteous in saving us!
Has it ever occurred to some regarding the matter of the angels that sinned? God spared them not, but cast them down to hell without any hope of recovery. But when man sinned, he was cast out of Paradise to be sure, but not before he was given the promise of a coming Redeemer, that would bruise the serpent's head (cf. Gen. 3:15).
The message of the gospel is manifold in the things that it communicates to men. It is a proclamation of exceedingly glad tidings to men who are returning to God from their involvements in sins, which are the “works of the Devil” (cf. I Jn. 3:8). But, even more than this, it is a declaration of God’s righteousness in graciously receiving the returning ones.
Thus, it is in the breaking and bruising of our Lord's body that we see God's righteousness in dealing mercifully with sinners, for it was there at the Cross where sins were dealt with righteously, and that without question. Thus in the preaching of the gospel we are made to see afresh that our sins, in fact, were justly dealt with by God, when He laid them upon His only begotten Son (cf. Isa. 53:6). And the gospel is the proclamation of the sufferings of Christ, not for His own sake, but for ours.
This righteousness is “revealed from faith to faith.” That is to say, the more men increase in their faith (that is, in the substance of things hoped for, and in the persuasion of things not seen), the more clearly they will perceive that God was absolutely righteous in the matter of saving them, and that there were no unrighteous dealings on His part in the putting away of our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ.