Wednesday, September 1, 2021

How Will You Plead?

Well, I was called for jury duty this week. In the end, they texted me on Monday evening to tell me that I was not needed, but I was ready to serve. I think all citizens should serve. In the United States, one is considered innocent until proven guilty, and our constitution guarantees us all the right to a fair trial before a jury of our peers. Not every nation makes that promise. We are truly blessed.

When you think about it, the task of a juror is pretty significant. To judge someone’s guilt or innocence, and impose a monetary penalty, or send someone to prison is a serious responsibility.

At first, I thought to myself, wow, I am having a hard enough time contemplating what it would be like to judge a single person’s actions, God has to judge each and every one of us. Then, I remembered. Actually, I think God has it a little easier. Why? He does not have to decide our guilt or innocence. We are all guilty. Romans 3:10, “No one is righteous – not even one.” Psalm 51:5, “For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:23, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” When we stand before the Lord on Judgment Day, we will not be able to plead innocent. 2 Corinthians 5:10 reminds us, “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” Now, some people mistakenly believe if we do more good than bad, we will be okay. On the scales of justice our good deeds will outweigh our evil. Unfortunately, I am afraid that is not true, because the Bible says in James 2:10, “…the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” That’s right. As Jesus told us in Matthew 5:48, “…you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” What? Perfection? Are you perfect? I know I am not. That means when we stand before God, we will all be found guilty. Yup. Sorry. I will as well. So, what hope is there for us?      

The hope is in the sentencing phase. For those who are born again, we can be assured that our punishment has already been carried out through what Jesus did on the cross. We may have been the ones who sinned, but Jesus took the consequences of our sins – willingly. “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily,” Jesus said in John 10:18. Those who believe have no reason to fear their day in court. We know how it will turn out. Jesus is clear, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father,” Jesus says, “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). However, for those who do not believe, Jesus is pretty clear as well. “Get away from me,” He says in Matthew 7:23, “you who break God’s laws” “…[you] will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

If you are ever called to serve on a jury, I encourage you to do your duty. There would be no better, fairer, or more compassionate, juror than one who follows Jesus Christ. Also, try to picture yourself as the defendant one day standing in the heavenly court before the Lord and having to plead your case knowing you are guilty. Then, remember what Jesus did for you on the cross and how your case will be dismissed because He has already taken your punishment, and rejoice. Be thankful and rejoice. Live the rest of your days here on earth in thankful appreciation for what Christ did for you.  

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