“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who is interceding for us.”
When I read these verses, I imagine a courtroom. I’m on trial, Satan is the prosecutor, and God is the judge, sitting behind the bench. Jesus is the key witness. Satan passionately accuses me, he runs through a list of all the sin that has stained my life; the list is very long. The case is made against me, and I have no defense. I’m guilty of my sin and I stand condemned before the judge. Then a witness takes the stand. It’s Jesus. He says I’m not guilty. Satan argues. He pleads with the judge to give me what I deserve, to punish me. But Jesus doesn’t back down. In fact he demands that I go free. He claims he has already paid my debts and served my sentence.
What did I owe? Perfection. Jesus says he already did that for me, I’m covered. What punishment do I deserve? Death. Jesus shows his scars as proof; he already did that for me too. All debts have been paid. All punishments have been served. Justice has been carried out, in an act of scandalous mercy. Jesus tells the judge that I am innocent, and I am set free.
This is the scenario that we face. We are all sinners. Romans 3 says that the wages of sin is death. We deserve to die, we deserve punishment. Thankfully, Jesus is interceding on our behalf to the judge, saying that we shouldn’t receive the punishment that we deserve. That’s mercy. But he doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t just want us to walk free, he wants to give us a reward. We don’t deserve it, but Jesus testifies that we do. That’s grace.
The metaphor makes it seem like God is sitting behind the bench ready to condemn us, but that’s not the case. You see, before the trial even began, God sent Jesus out ahead of time to pay the debts and serve the sentence. He knew you were guilty, but he didn’t want you to be condemned. So he made arrangements for you to walk free, and not only to walk free but to walk away with a great reward.
When the judge is on your side before the case even begins, you’re sure to win.
The only way to God is through Christ. Believe in Jesus and the free gift he gave us by the grace of God, and you will become a child of God, and heir to his Kingdom. Jesus is giving you the inheritance in heaven that he deserves, while taking the punishment that we deserve. How amazing is that? Look and see how great is the love that our Father has for us.
I’m a sinner. I’ve fallen short of you time and time again. I know that I’m not righteous on my own, but I know that I’m not on my own. I believe that you sent your son Jesus to die on my behalf, that I may be washed clean and be made worthy of eternal life with you. Thank you for that great love and mercy that you poured out to me at the cross.
In Jesus’ Name,