The sinner can now go free because his Judge was not only just (which required Him to enforce the penalty of the Law) but also full of mercy (since He paid the penalty that His justice required Him to impose upon the sinner).

This is what God did for us in Christ’s death upon the cross. Sin was judged. The penalty was paid. And we were forgiven and set free! We were thus JUSTIFIED.

THE CHURCH: FAMILY LIFE AND KINGDOM POWER

The phrase “family of God” describes human and heavenly relationships of life and love. It is not only a “beloved” family, but also a “royal” family. Christ is not only our Redeemer-Brother, but also our Royal-Brother – the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We were born not only into the family of God, but into His Kingdom as well. In God’s “family” we have life; in God’s “Kingdom” we have power and authority.

The Church of Jesus Christ includes the concepts of both the “family” and the “Kingdom.” Christ is the royal Son of God. His life and His authority will be expressed through us as we become “one” with Him. The Apostle Paul teaches us that “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body whether Jews or Greeks… and have all been made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13).

The term “baptize” means to be placed into or become one with something. We have been placed into Christ and have become one with Him. At salvation, the Holy Spirit puts us into Christ (imputed righteousness) and Christ into us (imparted righteousness). We truly become members of His Body. He is the Head of that Body, and that Body is the Church. (See Colossians 1:18.)

The first time we find the word “church” in the New Testament, it is from the lips of Jesus Himself. Peter has just spoken out and confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus tells him that “the Father” had blessed him with that revelation.

Then, calling Peter by name, Jesus told him: “Upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven…” (Matt 16:18,19; see also – and think about -verses 13-17).

The “rock” upon which the Lord would build His Church is the revelation, given by God to Peter, that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (v. 16).

Jesus assures Peter -and all believers – that His Church, founded on that firm “rock” of God’s revelation, will be so strong spiritually that the very defenses of hell will not be able to withstand the Church’s victorious assault against them.

The “keys” in verse 19 represent the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven.

A CHIEF CORNERSTONE AND A SURE FOUNDATION

Jesus was telling the disciples that He was going to build His Church upon a sure foundation. He would be the Chief Cornerstone, but there would be other foundation stones as well. (See Ephesians 2:20.)