Psalm 85.10/Romans 8.1 – Justice of Mercy for All (10/8/95)

A Sermon (#530) Preached By William “Bill” Touchton

Edited by Michael D. Lawson

If you have your Bibles turn with me to Psalm 85.10. and I want us to look at this very unusual verse for just a moment, and then I want us to look at Romans 8.1.

On Tuesday of this week, (Oct. 3, 1995) millions of Americans and millions of people around the world turned on their TV sets, or radios and they listened as the lady read, “We the jury, find the defendant Orenthal James Simpson not guilty of the crime of murder.”

Now listen, after that verdict was announced there were two statements made that have divided the whole country.

Statement #1 was made by Ron Goldman’s father, he said, “Justice was not served today.” And many people agree and lined up behind that statement.

Statement #2 was made by Johnnie Cochran. He said, “Justice was served today.” And many people agreed and lined up behind him.

Listen, I do not care which statement you lined up behind. Listen to this. Believe it or not, justice will be served. Not only for O.J. Simpson, but for me and for you.

In Hebrews 9.27 it says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

Listen, there is coming a day when we will all stand before the Righteous Judge on trial for our sins, and on that day we will receive justice or mercy. We will be condemned or acquitted.

Now look with me at this unusual verse.

Psalm 85.10 – “Mercy and truth (that word could be translated ‘justice’) are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

Now watch, when we receive mercy from the law, we received what we do not deserve, and when we receive justice from the law, we receive what we do deserve.

Mercy is at one end of the legal system and justice is at the other end. But the psalmist says there is a place where they meet together.

Now turn with me to Romans 8.1…and this morning I want to preach on the subject – “Justice and Mercy For All”.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with a man by the name of Rocky. At the time, Rocky was about 55 years old, and was as hard, and as old as any man I had ever met.

Rocky was raised in a large city up north, and he lived in a part of town in which every one grew up poor. He said, in his neighborhood everyone was hungry and it was a place where you had to fight to survive – a place where every one was Catholic. He said he believed in God, and even prayed from time to time.

And as we talked that day I asked him this question. I said, “Rocky, the Bible says in Romans 3.10 that there is none righteous-no not one. And the Bible says in Romans 3.23 that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” I said, “Have you ever sinned?”

Rocky thought for a moment and said, “Well I believe we were all born with at least one moral sin.”

I said, “Are you saying we were all born with a sinful nature?”

He said, “Well, I would say yes.”

I said, “Well, if we were all born with a sinful nature then we all have a problem because the Bible says in Romans 6.23 that the wages of sin is death, and that means we all deserve to die and spend eternity in hell.”

He said, “Wait a minute! I’m not all that bad.”

I said, “Have you ever sinned? He said, “Yes.”

I said, “The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord…Here’s the bottom line, the Bible says that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’.”

I said, “Since by your own admission you have confessed to being a sinner, why don’t you ask the Lord Jesus to come into your life and forgive you of your sins?”

He said, “I’m really not all that bad, and I would rather take my chances with who I am.” I said, “but what if you leave here on your way home and get killed?”

He said, “Then God will have to decide what to do with me.”

Listen! I said, “He has already decided!”

In fact, his fate was decided the moment he was born, and unless he is saved, his sin debt cancelled, then he will one day stand before the Almighty Judge of the universe and be found guilty of sin and sentenced to an eternal hell, and justice will be served. But it doesn’t have to be that way because God in his grace, sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. John says, “and for the sins of the world.” There is divine pardon offered to all, but listen, that pardon for sin, that holy acquittal must be received in this lifetime. And that’s what Paul is talking about in this verse.

CONTEXT: Now when Paul begins the book of Romans, he begins with a discussion of the depravity of the human race. He talks about widespread adultery, homosexuality, murder, hatred, and pride. He said God revealed himself, but they glorified him not. They rejected Him. And the Bible says He gave them up, and found them guilty and He condemned them to a life without God.

Then Paul leaves that crowd and pinpoints another. And this time he focuses in on those who are self-righteous. The crowd who can see the sin in everybody else’s life but their own. But Paul said they too were inexcusable. There was no pardon for that kind of person, because there’s none righteous. None that does good. None that understands. None that seeks God. They too are inexcusable. They have already been tried and found guilty.

Then in Romans 5, Paul makes a wonderful statement. He said, “the just shall live by faith.” Those who have been justified by God, those judged not guilty of sin, are those who live by faith.

Watch. We are all guilty of sin. We all deserve hell. But God paid that sin debt by the death of his Son and whosoever receives that pardon of sin by faith is declared not guilty…Forever!

Here’s what he’s saying. The answer to the sin problem is Jesus…For those who have received Him have received a full pardon of sin…those who have not will receive the full condemnation of sin.

Now…where do you stand? Have you been acquitted by God or do you stand condemned by God?

Let’s look at what that means:

  1. The Reason for Condemnation
  2. The Result of Condemnation
  3. The Rescue of Condemnation

The Reason For Condemnation:

In Romans 5, the Bible said judgment has been passed on all men…we have been condemned.

Now the word ‘condemned’ in the Bible is a legal judgment that has been passed upon someone. It is what they call a ‘damnatory sentence’.

For example: In Mark 14.64, it says the chief priest sat in judgment of Jesus, and condemned him to be guilty of death.

To be condemned means to be judged guilty and sentenced to die. Why would God condemn anyone? The Bible says the wages of sin is death.

Now, what is sin? Man calls it an accident, God calls it an abomination. Man calls it an error, God calls it evil. It’s referred to as ungodliness, unholiness, unrighteousness. It’s called wickedness and worldliness.

I studied the word and found 3 words used to describe it.

The first word is “sin.” It means to miss the mark. God had a mark, but from day one, we went astray. Listen, the longer we live, the further we get away from God’s mark. Our own human experience convicts us of sin.

The second word is the word “transgression.” 1 John 3.4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law…” The word means to trespass. God says, “Here’s a line. Don’t cross it.” Yet we constantly step over the line.

Sin means to miss the mark. Transgression means to step over the line.

The third word is “iniquity.” It means to be bent the wrong way and has to do with direction. It means we always go in the wrong direction. It means instead of getting better and better as evolution suggests, we get worse and worse.

For example, Sports Illustrated now publishes a swimsuit issue. 25 years ago, that would be porn. But today it’s no big deal. Have we progressed? We have become more vile and wicked. In the 80’s this country sent Gary Hart home – a shamed man because he had an affair. Today we laugh it off. Homosexuality is accepted. Adultery is accepted.

Now watch, sin condemns. And if all sin, then all are condemned (Rom. 5).

The Results of Condemnation: (Romans 6.23)

“For the wages of sin is death.”

Wait a minute. We’ve got a problem…I’m not dead!

It means three things:

  1. Personality Death – dead in trespasses and sin…(Ephesians 2)
  2. Physical Death – nobody beats the system. 100,000’s of graves prove the validity of this statement.
  3. Permanent/Painful Death – Luke 16: the rich man died, and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.

Watch. We were born sinners, condemned to die. Condemned to be separate from God. …but the gift of God…

Mercy and justice come together at the cross.

The Rescue of Condemnation:

Paul says the condemnation is cancelled when we are “in Christ.” What does that mean? Being in Christ is Paul’s way of saying a person has been saved…

2 Cor. 5.21; Col. 2.13-14; Titus 2.14; 1 Pet. 2.24; 1 Pet. 3.18…

He cancelled my debt and set me free…

Justice and Mercy met at the cross…