If a person killed another person in premeditated cold blood, and if that person standing on trial, was given a full pardon, we would say that justice was not served out to that man. If in the same vein, we were to stand trial for our sin, so dark and so continuous, violating God’s righteousness in such blatant rebellion as to make even the most horrible murder case seem trivial in comparison, how much more would our full pardon be unfathomable?
That indeed is what so many of us expect. We walk in darkness gladly. We miss the mark constantly, and we choose our own way over His time and time again. We ignore His laws, we make little of them, we even create our own, and we tell ourselves that what we do is somehow better than what “other” people do, so it is ok. We may even choose to work hard to make it up to Him, attempting to erase our sin by works, adhering to the letter of the law without ever applying the principle of it. We justify ourselves to a God so powerful, so far above us, so Holy, and so pure, as to judge ourselves deserving of a full pardon. But that is not justice that is folly.
James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” Therefore, as we would expect a just judge to punish a murderer for his one horrible act, we must also apply honestly this justice to ourselves. How much more do we deserve the full measure of judgement against us for our continual sin? There is no way out of our punishment. Justice must be served.
What if the one who was murdered could stand up in the murderer’s defence? What if he could stand up and tell the judge that he would take the blame? Even more, what if the very same Holy God requiring justice for our sin sent His own Son, without fault or stain, to stand trial for us so that justice would be served for our lawlessness enabling us to go free?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 tells us that this is exactly what our Holy God did. We have “been justified as a gift by God’s grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24)
We cannot wiggle out of this on our own merit, we can’t sweet talk the judge, and we cannot make up for what we have done, or for what we continue to do. We can’t erase a thing on our own. But by His grace, He did. “In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.” (Eph. 1:7-8a) No one else can take our place, no one else is without sin, no one else can stand before a Holy God and live, “and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
So let us today, ponder this grace that covers us in Christ. Let us repent of our oft-flippant attitude towards our sin and towards His grace. Let us sit before a Holy God who justifies us (Rom. 4:25), not because we deserve it or earn it in any way, but because He chose to justify us and grant us full pardon through Christ who “was pierced for our transgressions; was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5)
Let us fall silent and let the full weight of Ephesians 2:8-9 fall on us this day, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”.
Justice has been served.