Friday, March 05, 2010

Innocent by Reason of Calvary - March 5, 2010

Good Friday morning! The temp felt warm, but to my surprise it's wet and warm this morning. We have felt the touch of rain early this morning; a precursor to more cold and snow or the first touch of spring? We'll have to watch the day unfold for the answer to that question. Last night during our life group Bible study a phrase occurred to me as we studied grace and justification: innocent by reason of Calvary.

A few years ago, for that matter it's probably still on the television shows, innocent by reason of insanity caused a bit of stir in the courts as a phrase that meant someone got away with a crime. Perhaps someone successfully used that to get a client released from a charge, but the phrase came into the popular culture meaning that a criminal committed the crime, usually murder, and used that defense to walk away free. However, I find it unlikely that many courts would fall for that. Most likely the person judged insane would be committed to the care of a psychiatric hospital for quite some time, if not for life. What if there was a defense that freed one completely of the punishment for a crime?

Whatever happens in the world, there is a defense that can SAVE a person from eternal punishment. We are all guilty before we even have a chance to defend ourselves. Born of Adam, we bear the stain of sin on our lives. That may seem unfair until you hear that someone else has already borne the punishment for our sin. Now how unfair is it? We can escape the punishment we deserve for our sin by accepting what Jesus offers in grace - freedom from the penalty of sin. The person who believes in Jesus, is declared righteous and innocent of all charges.

How can He do this? To satisfy the judgement of the judge, Christ would have to pay the penalty himself. He did. The Judge, God, declared the judgement of sin satisfied by the death of His Son on the cross. The innocent paid the penalty for the guilty. This is not something we should ever forget. The unfairness of original sin was paid for by a complete injustice done to the one man who had no stain of sin upon him. Not only is original sin covered, but all those little sins that you and I did commit, the ones no one knows about, those sins were paid for too. The court has declared us innocent by reason of Calvary!

Eternal life is ours by an act we had nothing to do with! We can't take credit or boast of our good performance, the entire payment was made by Jesus. It seems too simple for this world, and indeed the lie has been told that each of us can build our own bridge across the great divide by good works. Sorry, what would you use to support those 'good work' planks of yours when you have no access to the other side?

I write metaphorically, but imagine trying to build a bridge with no contact, no touching, of the other side allowed? No ropes, for the other side is Heaven, and no sin-stained materials or bridge-builders are allowed to touch the sinless shores of Heaven. We might want to just take the bridge already spanning that great chasm. The one Jesus declared in John 14:6 when he told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Somewhere along that narrow bridge, Jesus is going to clean off that stain of sin; He has already removed the penalty for it. Walk the narrow way with Him; let Jesus cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Have a wonderful Friday in Christ!


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