who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (ESV)
It seems that even the most ardent atheist has a strange fascination with justice. If someone wrongs us we want something to happen to them. The great C.S. Lewis was once an atheist. He too struggled with this concept of justice. He did not believe in God but he believed in some kind of justice that he demanded be offered when someone did him wrong.
Lewis said the following: "My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?" Justice is a God thing. He is the standard by which we measure right and wrong.
Consider this aspect of justice when you contemplate our verse today. Paul is saying that Christ satisfied the need for justice. The sins of mankind had to be punished. For them not to be punished would be a grave injustice. So, Jesus Christ steps into the picture and was delivered up for our trespasses. On his back was the penalty for our sin. Justice.
He is raised for our justification. In some way God's raising of Jesus from the dead is him saying, "The sacrifice for sins is accepted." In fact, Jesus himself said "It is finished," while he was hanging on the cross. Justice satisfied. The beautiful reality about God's handling of justice is that we do not pay the penalty. It is paid for us by Jesus. What an amazing savior we serve.
Do you find yourself aggressively demanding justice? Remember the gracious act whereby your injustice was paid for by an act of a gracious savior.