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The Light of Justice

“For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26)

I dislike the feeling of guilt. The feeling of guilt can consume all your thinking. No matter what you are involved in that weight of guilt plays on your mind. It may not be for the noble reason that you know that you have committed a wrong, it may just be the fear of being found out. That’s the trouble with telling a lie to cover your mistakes, you end up having to tell another one to cover the trail that follows you. Guilt is that way, it follows you were ever you go, it is ever present and it can dominate your actions even when you are being good.

I remember before when I had my first job stocking the small store of Fonda in the small village of Ballengee. I had no income except the dollar that my dad would give me each week. Even in the sixties that was not much to last a whole seven days. Especially when I had to give 10 cents to the Sunday school offering. As a result of living beneath the poverty level of my day I developed some very sticky fingers. And I am sorry to admit I got good at it.

There was a baseball game coming up at the Bobcats field and I wanted to have my own bat and glove. Now I had a glove that my big brother gave me but I needed a bat. I would have to have saved up for a month and a half to be able to afford a bat a Medder’s five and dime store. And the game, well, it was coming the very next weekend. So I put on my sticky fingers and went to Medder’s store.

It was easy for me, I just went in and looked at some Lone Ranger comic books, checked out a few car models, and then went over and grabbed a nice Easton Rebel youth bat and walked out as if it was mine. I had a bat, a nice bat, and I was thinking that the fence line was not near too far for me to hit a homer with this bat.

The trouble with being a preacher’s kid in a small town is that everyone knows your dad and they also know who his children are. Fred Medder was a kindly man in our Church and rather than make a big scene at his store he just told my dad what I had done. I had tucked my Easton bat beneath my bed until game day but I began to notice that my dad was not as joyful with me as usual. That fear of guilt and that fear of getting caught began to work its way through every moment of my day. I found myself avoiding my dad for fear that there would be trouble. The result of which was a broken relationship with my father.

Game day came and there I was on the field with my fancy bat getting ready to hit a homer for sure when I looked over to the stands and there sat my day. My dad never had time to come to a baseball game and why he was there this day was a puzzle to my mind. I was trying to concentrate on the game thinking if I hit a home run that would make everything great between us. No matter how I was trying to be into the game I kept visioning myself in the woodshed being switched with a willow branch. How would I explain to my dad after the game that I had a baseball bat, an Easton baseball bat at that? I didn’t hit a home run that day, I didn’t even get on first base, and I wished more than anything else that I hadn’t stolen that hitless bat. I was such a guilt ridden wreck by the end of the game that I confessed of my crimes.

The trouble is no matter if for noble intention or otherwise when we sin we carry the weight of that guilt until we find a way to relieve it. Either in our personal relationships or our relationship with our God the heavenly Father, there is that cloud of guilt that blinds the relationship. There are no secrets with God for He lives in the truth of all life. Among the multitude of what God is He is an accountant. He keeps records of all that we do, you and me. No matter how much we hide from our fellow folk all will be revealed before God on Judgment Day. “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12)

There has to be relief from that truth. All mankind is in need of salvation from the wrongs they have committed. Some think penitence is an answer and they sacrifice their time, talent and treasure to pay the debt of their sins. Some bow before man-made objects and pray for forgiveness. Others worship angels or join the occult and seek forgiveness from the very tempter himself. All schemes of man to find forgiveness will fail as the wage of their sin, their disobedience, their rejection of God is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) If guilt bothers you, then ponder the penalty for the cause of your guilt.

There is nothing short of death that will pay the price of our sinful behavior. That is clear with one exception, the love of God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) If we would just believe and trust Jesus in faith that He has paid our sin debt and trust that the blood He shed for us washes our sins away, then we will be saved from the death that we so richly deserve. Jesus has paid the price of our sin and will freely give us that credit in our spiritual bank that we may live with Him in His Kingdom. When our names are written in His Book of Life then are sinful behavior is justified before God the Father. “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:28)

Each one of us will stand in the court of the Throne of God and we will be proclaimed guilty and rightly so. What layer do you know that can defend your guilt before God? I will answer for you, there is none. There is none who will defend you in the court of God except Jesus. Where the jury will proclaim us guilty the Son of God will proclaim us innocent because we have followed Him in faith and have served Him. The thief on the cross with Jesus admitted that he deserved death but acknowledged his faith in Jesus. And Jesus replied to him, “And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Jesus paid our debt, He owns what we have been, and He owns what we can become through Him what He created us to be. Who in the universe but Jesus has the right to pardon us for our sins? “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

God is all knowing and though we yet to know where and what our lives will be, and what we will do, God knows. He knew that man would fall in the Garden of Eden, He knew that sinful nature that man has because of that fall, and He knew that we would as a result stumble and falter. Jesus did not die for us because we are good, He did not save us because He needs anything from us, He saved us because in spite of our selves He loves us. At our worst He cleansed us that we can though Him become His best. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

The difference between a follower of Jesus and the non-believer is not that they are perfect in anyway. All of us here in this world are sinners and we will make mistakes till we escape from this world. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The difference is that as followers of Jesus we are sinners that He has died for.

Jesus has given us His righteousness and transferred us from death unto life. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13) Though we are here in this world God no longer sees us for what we are but what we are going to be. Justified by our faith in His Son, sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit, and able to stand before God in the righteousness of His Son. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)

It is a walk of faith in the work of our Lord and Savior on the cross of Calvary that we live eternally. Our faith in who Christ is to us, our faith in what He has done for us, and what we will become through our faith in Him. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Pleasant Manor, September 26, 2015

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