Wednesday, December 8

My Defense

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. --James 4:12a

Last month Scott Peterson was convicted of double murder. The trial is now in the penalty phase, and his defense lawyers are fighting tooth and nail to convince the jury that their client deserves life imprisonment without parole instead of lethal injection. Dozens of witnesses have been called to the stand to testify why they think this man's life should be spared. It boggles my mind to hear that some people think his life is worth sparing simply because he was a friendly restaurant waiter, or because he bought his sister some cute fuzzy slippers as a gift one Christmas.

What must God think when he looks at the world we are living in--a world where adulterous murderers are pardoned because at some point in their lives they actually acted like reasonably decent human beings?

I was struck dumb yesterday when I thought about how many times I have pleaded with God the way Peterson's lawyers now plead for his life. I once tried reasoning with God saying that even though I have sinner here and there throughout my life, I'm basically a good person. I tried reminding God of all the things I had done in life that weren't sinful--teaching Sunday school, being respectful of my teachers, being nice to other people.

God is not impressed when we simply behave ourselves. That isn't to say he isn't pleased when we live according to his standards. He is, but we can't expect that there is anything we can do on our own that would offset the countless times we've sinned against him. We can enumerate a long list of examples of things we think we've done that should count in our favor, but none of it will matter to him. We cannot spare our own lives by trying to be "good" or "moral".

We need to acknowledge that we are sinful and cannot do any good thing on our own. We need to admit that we have missed the mark of perfection that God requires from us. In doing so, we own up to the fact that the wages of our sin is death and God has every right to condemn us. However, God does not wish to condemn us. He sent his son to take on our sin. Jesus paid the paid the price that we could not. He did so in order that we might get to spend eternity with God in heaven.

When we stand in judgment at the end of life and make our case to God, there is only one defense we can claim--to believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. If we claim Christ's righteousness, then we are pardoned. When we have a relationship with Jesus, we are able to plead not guilty. When God asks us why we plead that way, we can point to Jesus and say "because I believe he has taken my place."

I do not pretend to understand all the ins and outs of our legal system here in the United States, for I know that it is inherently flawed. I do however, believe that the method of God's judgment is clearly stated in the Bible and is perfect, just as he is perfect. I know that our God is a just God, and a fair God. I know that I am imperfect and he is holy. I know that unless I believe in Jesus, I am sentenced to eternal death. For that reason, I am claiming life in Christ and that is my defense.



Have you heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? Please visit www.greatcom.org/laws/ to learn more.

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