(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
So you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around Christianity. Join the club. Many people have been there, and have since crossed over into the light. They now get it. So what made the difference?
Well, you will never understand Christianity until you understand the judicial nature of God's revelation to man. Once you start to see it, the message of the Gospel will begin to come into focus as well.
Consider these facts. You were born in God's jurisdiction here on earth. There is an ultimate Judge. His name is Jesus Christ. There will be a divine courtroom. There will be guilty people coming before the Judge. The sentence will be handed down on Judgment Day. And there will be those who are free and clear of any charges against them.
You have heard of the 10 Commandments which God gave man on those stone tablets. That is God's law. If you break one of them, the Bible says you are guilty of breaking all of them. (see James 2:10) Lawbreakers are guilty before God and must be punished. God's punishment is not gentle, and it is not temporary. God is eternal, and so His punishment of sin is eternal. God doesn't do things halfway. God is perfect in justice.
If that was everything, we would all be in a heap of trouble. But God is more than perfectly just. He is also perfect in love. It was this love which led Him to send His only Son to pay the price for our sin by dying on the cross. "The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him." (Isaiah 53:5) Christ was the innocent One, but He allowed Himself to be falsely accused and sentenced to death. He then willingly took our punishment so that we could go free.
While still here on earth, you are in essence "out on bail" awaiting your appearance before the Judge. You have been charged with many sins according to God's Word. As it stands today, you are on the road to being convicted and receiving your sentence. But God is offering you a "plea deal." You can plead guilty before God today and accept His offer.
Here are the terms. You admit your sin to God as you confess that you have broken His laws. You not only plead guilty, but you also "plead" the blood of Jesus over your soul by trusting in Christ to wash away your sins. You accept Jesus as your Savior as you turn to Him in faith. You immediately hand over control of your life to the One who went to the cross for you. And you prepare to follow Him for the rest of your life.
That's the deal. There will be no other plea deals offered to you. God has done everything necessary to make this deal available to you. If you choose to decline this plea deal during your time on earth, you will enter God's courtroom one day with no defense. You will not be offered a deal on that day. You will only be sentenced for your transgressions and for the many times you have broken God's law.
On the other hand, by accepting God's plea deal, you are immediately "justified" before God. That is a judicial term in the Bible which means you are declared "not guilty." Your slate gets wiped clean instantly. Justification is a doctrine which is emphasized in the New Testament. God wants us to understand the judicial nature of our situation.
If you choose to accept God's plea deal, He will forgive your sins and He will send you to share God's offer with other sinners. That is what Christians are called to do. It is our job to help sinners come to see the judicial nature of Christianity and what it takes to be forgiven and go free.
Now if you are not a sinner on the other hand, I guess you have nothing to worry about. In that case, I imagine you are expecting God to welcome you into heaven based on your perfect life. Let me tell you something. Apart from the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, a perfect life is the only other way a person will come out of God's courtroom being declared "not guilty." And so far in the history of humanity, only One Person has lived a sinless life. That is actually one of the reasons He is qualified to be our Savior.
You really need to stop and consider God's case against you. The charges are real. You will be prosecuted to the full extent of God's law. That is, unless you accept God's plea deal. Just remember. God was not the one who sinned. We put ourselves in this predicament. Each of us is culpable. We brought on all the charges we are facing. Each of us is guilty of various capital offenses against the Lord. So God decided to sacrifice His only Son to get us out of the mess we had created for ourselves.
"For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) God's law was set in stone. God's love was shed in blood.
If you have any questions about your case, you can learn more about it in the Bible. And you can ask Christians to help you get a better handle on it. Beyond that, I guess you can take it up with the Judge. Make no mistake about it my friend. You will get your day in court. The warrant for your arrest has already been issued.
"It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) "For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:10) God's verdict for you on that day will be final. There will be no opportunities to appeal your verdict. And parole will never be available to those who are sent to their eternal prison.
Meanwhile, the plea deal is available to you at this very moment. You are the defendant. You are the lawbreaker. And Christ is your only hope. God loves you very much. So take the deal. Do it today, because who knows? There is no telling how long God is going to allow you to remain out on bail.