• Jeremy Mickelson


What do you think? Would a good judge let a criminal go free?

What if the accused had done some good things? Maybe he gave money to charity, went to church, volunteered at a soup kitchen, or helped cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. While good, would any of that dismiss his case? What if he said, "I'm sorry"? Would an admission of guilt warrant an acquittal? Just imagine asking a judge to let you go free on the very basis of your conviction! No, only a corrupt judge would let a criminal go free. Justice must be served.

Likewise, if God is good then He must and will punish sinners. So much so that the Bible says, "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8) While it is true that God is loving, compassionate and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, it is also true that He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7).

The fact is, no one is without sin (1 John ). Take an honest assessment of yourself. Search your own heart (Mark 7:21). Have you ever lied, stolen (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), lusted (Matthew 5:27-28), been angry without cause (Matthew 5:21-22)? No matter how white the lie, it's still a lie. No matter how small the theft, it's still theft. Those are just four of the ten commandments. What about taking God's name in vain? Using "God" as an interjection or figure of speech (e.g., OMG) is a very serious sin (Exodus 20:7). Does it even make sense that you would use the name of your creator in place of a curse word? Do you understand that it is precisely because God is so good that He will see to it that justice is carried out (Hebrews 9:27)? Remember, NOBODY IS WITHOUT SIN (Romans 3:9-18), and, like the judge in the example above, God is good and just and will not let sin go unpunished. Oh what a pitiful existence ours would be if that were all (1 Corinthians 15:19). BUT GOD is also rich in mercy! (Ephesians 2:4-5)

"We did the crime, He paid the fine."

God has provided a way for you to escape His judgment while satisfying His demand for justice (Romans 5:8-9). This is what John 3:16 is all about. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (1 John 5:20), born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35), literally God in the flesh (John 1:14), lived a sinless and perfect life (1 Peter 2:22-23), stepped into time and space and "paid the fine" for you on the cross (Romans 8:1-2). God punished Him instead of you (2 Corinthians 5:21). He rose from the dead three days later and defeated death (2 Timothy 1:10). God is both righteous and just in that sin did not go unpunished, but full of grace and mercy so that those who repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved from the wrath of God, being justified and made righteous in His sight through the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross for them (Romans 3:26, Psalm 103:12). We did the crime, He paid the fine.

There is nothing you can do to earn this righteousness. Salvation is the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). No amount of "good deeds" will atone for your sins in the courtroom of eternal justice. Every other religion requires you to work your way in some part into God's grace. Christianity stands alone on the finished work of Jesus Christ, the truly blameless lamb of God and only one worthy of God's favor (Hebrews 9:12). Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism and every other "ism" require some part of your own efforts to save yourself, as though all of your deeds will be weighed on a cosmic scale when you die. They ultimately rely on your efforts to bribe the supreme judge of the universe into overlooking your sin. Even the Quran says that Muhammad did not know if his reward would be paradise. God says you can be sure! (1 Corinthians 1:8)

Today is the day, now is the time, you are not promised tomorrow. No amount of good deeds will bribe a good and just judge. You must repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ like you would a parachute. It's not enough to believe in a parachute before you jump, you must put it on! Likewise, you must "put on" the Savior (Romans 13:14). You won't survive the jump without him.

Becoming a Christian doesn't mean that you'll live a sinless life but it does mean that you'll repent (turn away) from the sin in your life and rest on God's promise of mercy to those who place their faith in Him (Mark 1:15). You don't need to go through a holy man or priest to settle your account with God. You don't need to visit a church. Speak to God in plain language, perhaps in the quietness of your mind. He created it, He knows your thoughts. There is nothing magical about the words you use and there is nothing mystical about how you use them. Jesus says to avoid vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7). Just pray from your heart! Read David's prayer of repentance in Psalm 51. He stole his neighbor's wife, committed adultery with her, lied about it, and had her husband murdered. Your prayer may be longer or shorter.

Here is the "good news" that Christ called the gospel: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8-11)

Good News Indeed! And that is the good news He commanded His disciples to carry to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15).

Click the Good Person banner to see how you stand before God today. Remember, we are not promised tomorrow.