“The establishment of the righteousness of God on the one hand, and the forgiveness of sin on the other, seem so contradictory, as that many stumble and fall at it eternally. (See Rom. 10:3-4).
But in this interposition of Christ, in this translation of punishment from the church unto Him, by virtue of His conjunction therewith, there is a blessed harmony between the righteousness of God and the forgiveness of sins;– the exemplification whereof is His eternal glory.
“O blessed change! O sweet permutation!” as Justin Martyr speaks.
By virtue of His union with the church, which of His own accord He entered into, and His undertaking therein to answer for it in the sight of God, it was a righteous thing with God to lay the punishment of all our sins upon Him, so as that He might freely and graciously pardon them all, to the honour and exaltation of His justice, as well as of His grace and mercy, (Rom. 3:24–26).
Herein is He glorious in the sight of God, angels, and men.
In Him there is at the same time, in the same divine actings, a glorious resplendency of justice and mercy;– of the one in punishing, of the other in pardoning.
The appearing inconsistency between the righteousness of God and the salvation of sinners, wherewith the consciences of convinced persons are exercised and terrified, and which is the rock on which most of them split themselves into eternal ruin, is herein removed and taken away.
In His cross were divine holiness and vindictive justice exercised and manifested; and through His triumph, grace and mercy are exerted to the utmost.
This is that glory which ravisheth the hearts and satiates the souls of them that believe.
For what can they desire more, what is farther needful unto the rest and composure of their souls, than at one view to behold God eternally well pleased in the declaration of His righteousness and the exercise of His mercy, in order unto their salvation?
In due apprehensions hereof let my soul live.
In the faith hereof let me die.
And let present admiration of this glory make way for the eternal enjoyment of it in its beauty and fulness.”
–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 358-359.