Years ago, I was issued a speeding ticket. I set an appointment with the judge to contest it. I figured if I detailed my good driving habits and explained the circumstances surrounding why I did what I did, any rationally thinking judge would understand and dismiss my case.
What I saw in the courtroom, however, was not at all what I had expected. There was a mixture of different types of people sitting and waiting for their case to come up. Some were dressed nicely and sat quietly, while others showed up not dressed in courtroom attire, were talking, and even making derogatory remarks about the judge and the justice system, demonstrating a total lack of respect for authority. Honestly, I was surprised the judge didn’t have some of them arrested for contempt of court.
Naturally, when these people got up to present their case and argue their points, the judge did not afford them any leniency, and I could understand why.
What surprised me was when the judge showed the same impartiality to those who were respectful of the court.
Even a 72-year-old man with a clean driving record who had never been issued a ticket in his life, and had a perfectly good explanation for his offense was found guilty of committing the infraction and had to pay a fine.
Suddenly I saw my hopes of getting off the hook evaporating into thin air.
But as I sat there listening to everyone give their stories, I pictured this judge sitting here every day listening to people trying to come up with convincing arguments or excuses for their actions. It’s no wonder that he impartially judges every situation according to the law.
Whether people are nice or sincere is irrelevant. Circumstances very rarely justify violating the law. Past obedience does not somehow outweigh their current offense and tip the scales in their favor. They are still accountable to the law for their violation.
As I stood up to plead my case, I realized that I really didnt have one. Still, I offered my best argument, even going so far as to basically embarrass myself by pleading for mercy, (might as well take a stab at it) but he nonetheless evaluated my case BY THE LAW. Ultimately, I was guilty, and there was no way I could blame him for coming to that conclusion. The consequences of my actions were mine to bear, so I quietly left the courtroom and paid my fine without a fuss.
It was a bit of a reality check.
Many people are hoping, like I did, that they will be able to talk their way out of hell when they stand before the great Judge, God. Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed to man once to die, and after that to face judgement. Jesus taught that our judgement will be so thorough, that we will have to give an account for every idle word we speak. Matt 12:36
People are hoping they will be able to argue with God about their situation or their circumstance and put God on the spot, but Gods judgement will be impartial as well. Check this out. Romans 2:6, 11
6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
11 For God does not show favoritism.
Circumstances do not justify violating the moral law written upon our hearts.
There is no favoritism with God. He is a good judge, which means that by His very nature, He MUST punish sin. No one will weasel their way out of accountability to Him. No amount of good works or obedience will get people off the hook.
The fine MUST be paid. Sin MUST be punished.
Words fail me to fully express what God did in order for us to escape that judgment. In the case of our sin, the Judge paid our fine Himself, so that we could go free.
Its as if the judge left the bench, took off his robe, bore the responsibility of my offense, and paid my fine. So God, because of His great love for us, left the unimaginable majesty of heaven to take on the form of humanity, bear our sins upon himself, and take the punishment that we deserve to make a way to free us from facing the wrath of God against our sin. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has made a way for us to be forgiven of our sin, and be given the gift of everlasting life.
Now, if I had walked into the courtroom and admitted that I had broken the law, you can bet I would still have paid a fine today. But God says that if we will humble ourselves and confess to Him, he will forgive every sin we’ve ever committed. 1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
He can do that based in the fact that Jesus stepped in and paid the fine.
Its up to us to receive the gift he offers. John 1:12 “but as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
When telling the lost about the eternal life God offers, we need to also tell them to stop making excuses for their sin. Confess them and have them drowned forever in a sea of God’s grace, where He promises that He will not remember them anymore.
Compel them to come to Christ today. He offers a pretty good deal!