August 23, 2011 |

The bad news and the good news

My friend received a speeding ticket and went to court in hopes to have the fine reduced. She was seated in the waiting room, scoping out the others waiting with her. She immediately categorized most of them as shady characters due to their somewhat scrappy, unkempt outward appearances.

However, once inside the courtroom she listened to their stories as they appeared before the presiding judge and realized they were all there for similar offenses to her own. She felt embarrassed to have misjudged them when in fact they were guilty of the same crime. She was reminded of Christ’s instructions in Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you will be judged.”

I’ve met individuals who believe they are part of God’s jury—when actually he doesn’t have or need one. They unfortunately tend to categorize and label quite quickly. The book of James describes God as the only one Lawgiver and Judge. He alone has jurisdiction over our universe to administer justice. His divine laws do have consequences, but so does His love; that is the bad news and the good news.

Three traits converged to cause our redemption, saving us from a guilty verdict. Three traits found in fullness in God: His great wisdom found a way to meet the requirement of His great holiness through His great love. His love for us had the consequence of His decision to send His Son to pay the penalty for our sins as Christ became our Advocate. Of all the people in the history of earth there was only one perfect to represent us: the imperfect. It was Christ. Yet as He came to earth knowing he would take our place on the cross as a perfect sacrifice He declared, “For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” John 12:47b.

If Jesus chose not to judge, so much more should we as Christians. My parents were a living example of a Christian balance of holiness and humbleness.

Even though they have both led lives consistently making righteous decisions, their actions and decisions have not caused them to feel or act superior.

For instance, I remember a family meal with an individual who expressed at length his great accomplishments and moral superiority. After dessert we waved as he finally drove away. My dad turned to us and simply said, “People shouldn’t toot their own horns.” It was his own short definition of humility summed up well.

There are two wrong ways of viewing God’s holiness. One is to take it too lightly and not realize its importance and spiritual impact.

We are not to ignore God’s laws and take liberty doing whatever we please. The closer our relationship with God grows the more we desire to please him and live as holy as humanly possible.

The other equally incorrect perception is to believe we are so sinful that God could never redeem us. One need only to take into account the life of Paul to realize the error of this way of thinking. Although he persecuted and killed Christians Paul became one of the greatest followers of Jesus, writing much of the New Testament. Perhaps he had a great grasp of the truth found in Romans 3:22-23: The bad news “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” prefaced by the good news, “Righteousness for God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to allwho believe. There is no difference.”

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