So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself? Esther 6:6
In the historical narrative of Esther, we learn that Haman was not only mistaken to presume it was he who was to receive this special honor from the Persian King Ahasuerus, but that the King actually had in mind honoring Haman’s worst enemy, Mordecai the Jew. In consideration of the recent promotion of Haman by the King to the highest position in his kingdom, Haman’s mistaken presumption is understandable. Why wouldn’t Haman imagine that he, above all others, was the intended recipient of the King’s honor? After all, his recent promotion would seem to suggest that he had earned this honor. His mistaken presumption was only natural.
Likewise, it is the natural, self-consumed pride of all sinners by nature that finds us making a similar tragic and erroneous presumption – imagining that we too, will be eternally honored by the King of Kings based upon something that we likewise presume to have merited for ourselves. Akin to Haman’s blind pride, there is a pervasive and deadly religious pride that is fostered in so many pulpits across our land and that permeates most of so-called ‘Christianity’ in our day. It shows up in the disgusting audacity that I once manifested (and in which countless others persist) in imagining that salvation before a holy God is ultimately conditioned in some way or to some degree on that which proceeds from the sinner.
Just as the Book of Esther shows us how God providentially used Haman’s evil intentions toward Mordecai and his fellow Israelites to result in their deliverance (rather than their intended demise), true believers (spiritual Israel) thank God that His Divine hand of providence brought the Gospel of God’s sovereign grace our way, exposing our own self-love and presumptuous religious pride and revealing to us our desperate need for His mercy and grace in Christ. To seek salvation any other way than based solely on merits of the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work is not only mistaken presumption, but evil from which God’s people repent.
THE JUSTICE OF GRACE
Grace is amazing and therefore righteous grace in that the justice of God which once stood against us as sinners alienated from God, now stands for us as those who have been reconciled to God in Christ Jesus. The words of Augustus Toplady ring true to the scriptures: "JUSTICE CANNOT TWICE DEMAND PAYMENT AT MY BLEEDING SURETY'S HAND...AND THEN AGAIN AT MINE." It is the justice of the thrice Holy that stands to guarantee our continued security before the law and throne of God. John tells us that all confessing sinners are cleansed from all sin and that God is "faithful and JUST to forgive us our sins." God's justice demands the forgiveness of all the sins of those for whom Christ died. This is because His death for sin actually put away sin by satisfying all that the justice of God required, which was death. "It is Christ that died..." Can justice allow any for whom He died to be condemned? Can justice require payment at the hands of the Substitute and then require it again at the hands of those He represents? NO! This cannot be. Justice that must demand the death of every soul that sins must also demand the full justification of every soul whose sins are made an end of in the dying of Christ. Justice sees all who are in Christ as Christ Himself. Such is the true nature of imputation. All believers are seen by divine justice as being in Christ because they are in Christ! I suppose it could be said that justice is the backbone of grace, giving it strength, applying the full benefits of Christ's work to every object of God's grace. Justice upholds the integrity of God's sovereignty in grace. He will have mercy to whom He will have mercy and be gracious to whom He will be gracious. Someone may rise to say "that's not fair." To which justice immediately replies, "God can do with His own what He will and if He leaves some men to face the consequences of their sin, He is just in doing so. But He must set free every sinner redeemed by Christ's blood because I've been satisfied and honored." Justice found a sweet satisfaction for my sin in the bloody sacrifice of Christ by it also guarantees the liberation, blessing and keeping of my soul because of that blood. God's faithfulness and justice are ever the twin guards that secure forever God's elect.