on his assurance that God would be unable to effect any reconciliation between Himself and His rebellious creatures. Satan reasoned that God's righteousness would stand inthe way of His mercy and thus make forgiveness impossible. God would thus be "put in a box", unable to act in mercy without compromise, unable to execute punishment without permanently marring His creation in an irreversible way. No matter how muchHe might dislike it, God would be forced to tolerate Satan's usurpation of power. Andthough it would not have formed part of his public pitch, the devil was no doubt also working on the "safety in numbers" principle, reckoning that while God might choose tochastise one rebel, removing the vast multitude of angels whom Satan had been able torecruit would create an irreparable rift in the fabric of the universe. But the devil's logicfailed to take into account the ineffable love of God, and was oblivious to the idea thatour God is a God of such grace that He would even sacrifice His most belovedpossession, His Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf. Satan was correct about therighteousness of God preventing His mercy from arbitrarily forgiving sin in any form, but what the devil did not count on was God's willingness to pay for sin Himself throughthe sacrifice of His Son, so that we might justly be accounted righteous in His eyes(2Cor.5:21):For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the
whereby God may saveeveryone who believes (whether the Jew first, or the Greek).
Because in it therighteousness of God is revealed
from faith to faith, as it is written, "[it is he whois] righteous on account of his faith [who] shall live".Romans 1:16-17 We are saved by faith in the Person and work of the One who died in our place and paidthe price of sin for us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because Jesus paid the price,God can forgive our sin, not arbitrarily, but justly, since it has been paid for in full in themost precious coin. God is therefore not only merciful to forgive us and welcome us intoHis family when we believe in Jesus, He is also just in justifying us, righteous inproclaiming us righteous, "not from works of righteousness which we have done"(Tit.3:5), but from our acceptance of the work of the One who died for us. Angels beingangels, as we have seen (part 1), any decision to rebel against God would be final.Possessed as they are of perceptive abilities that far exceed our material limitations, itcan be truly said of them that "they knew what they were getting into" (at least as far ascreatures can know). Reconciliation of fallen angels to a merciful God was thereforenever a likely possibility ± because
would not have it,
because God could notor would not do it.
The truth of this last point He has proven irrefutably by the lovingsacrifice of His only Son on mankind's behalf, paying a price so steep we can only dimly comprehend it. If the devil and his angels had been of a mind to receive such anincomparable gesture of sacrifice and mercy, God would have generously provided it. By giving up His Son to the cross, God has demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt both His willingness and His ability to rescue His creatures, for He has in fact done sofor us, even though it meant paying the price His righteousness demanded with the blood of His own Son.