He had been breaking rules all his life. In little ways, at first, ways that seemed inconsequential because his friends were doing them, too: snatching candy bars from grocery stores, plagiarizing school work, driving 50 in a 20 mile zone. It was inevitable that as he grew so did his crimes: cheating on his taxes, slandering the man whose position he coveted in hopes of getting ahead, engaging in dishonest business practices, driving drunk, and finally, the hit and run that cost a woman her life. Now, standing before the judge for sentencing, he knew it had all caught up to him—this accumulated debt to society—and payment was due.
Most people in the courtroom thought the judge would be lenient since he had a reputation for being a kindly soul. But everyone gasped when they heard him pronounce the harshest penalty allowed by law. And they gasped again when another man, prominent and well known in the community for his goodness, stepped forward and declare, “I will pay the penalty for him. I will serve his sentence.” A final gasp was heard when the judge accepted the offer and declared the real criminal, “absolved”.
It’s hard to believe that something like this could ever happen. But it did, almost two thousand years ago when Jesus, the sinless Son of God, stepped forward and willingly took upon Himself our just punishment. Without exception, we have all broken the rules. We have all violated God’s laws. And just like those people in that fictional courtroom, many believe our Heavenly Judge will be lenient and that somehow they will escape their due punishment. But though our Heavenly Judge is loving, He is also just, and His sense of justice must be satisfied. Thus our violations carry a terrible punishment, eternal separation from God.
But oh, what a tremendous thing Jesus accomplished! And at such a great cost! Hanging on a cross in unspeakable agony and torment, He took upon Himself every single one of our sins. And just before he died, John 19:30 tells us Jesus cried out “It is finished.” That word “finished” in the Greek literally means to discharge a debt, to mark it “paid in full.”
If we accept Jesus’ sacrifice we are “absolved”, too, and our sin debt is marked “paid in full”. If we don’t, then we will be required to pay this debt, ourselves. The choice is totally ours.
Until Next Week,