Imagine walking through the doors into a courthouse because you received a summons with today’s date, your name, and the huge reminder of your verdict of “Guilty” written across it. You slowly step up to the clerk to report in and she hands you the necessary paperwork to take before the Judge. She gives you directions to the courtroom you have been assigned to and you find it far too easily. You were hoping you could somehow draw this out longer–your sentencing. Even with the heaviness on your heart and the sickness in your stomach, you aren’t ready for the emotions that begin to swirl inside of you as you open the door and the ominous air greets you.
There is no one else in the courtroom but you, so you take a hard, wooden seat and wait in the silence that about kills you. (Funny choice of words, since you already know what the sentence will be–death.) How could this day already be here? Life has gone so fast up till this point.
The Accuser walks in first. He isn’t what you pictured him to be at all. He’s very good looking, dressed in an Armani suit and carrying a Louis Vuitton briefcase. He sets his briefcase down, efficiently opens it like he’s done it a million times before, pulls out a stack of papers and takes a seat.
The Judge walks in next with His flowing robe, regal ways, and takes His respected chair of complete authority.
Without a moment’s hesitation, the Accuser stands and begins with the smoothest, lulling tone you’ve ever heard. If you weren’t paying close attention, you would think he was singing your praises. But, as you listen more closely and his tone begins to increase in volume and turn vile, he seems to relish reading off every offense you have ever committed or even thought about committing.
Hearing your sins read out loud is the most humiliating thing you have ever experienced. It feels like you’ve brought the ugliest, filthiest things into the presence of the most pristine, respected, and righteous One. You just want to get this over with and hear your punishment of death.
Then, from the left, walks in the Innocent One. You hadn’t even known He was in the room up to this point. He boldly walks straight up to the Judge Himself, fully ignoring the Accuser’s rant, and whispers something in the Judge’s ear. The Judge loudly raps his gavel on the wood and the Accuser pauses.
The Judge declares in a voice to be reckoned with, “Not Guilty! The Innocent One has taken her sentencing and paid it in full. Case dismissed.”
“What? This can’t be happening! I don’t understand. I’m the one who did every one of those things on the Accuser’s list. He wasn’t lying. He was telling the truth. I am guilty.”
Stunned into silence and disbelief, you slowly walk out of the room. As you exit in numbness and confusion, someone hands you new papers. Boldly written across them in crimson are the words…NOT GUILTY.
Trying to comprehend this new freedom from death and having your court records completely expunged, you are still in a daze. Without even realizing you are taking steps towards the exit of the courthouse, you are shaken back into consciousness when the file clerk yells at you to stop and come to the window. “You can’t leave until we have finished your paperwork Miss.” As you approach the window, you have no idea what to expect.
She asks for all your old records and you hand them to her out of obedience. But you let out a scream when she begins to shred all of it. “Wait! You can’t do that! That’s my proof that I am not guilty!” She smiles and tells you to calm down because you obviously don’t understand.
Before you can ask your next question, she hands you a new file with your name upon it and informs you that your name is permanently on file in the great Book of Life. It can never be altered.
As you make your way down the stairs of the building, you suddenly remember you are holding this new file in your hand and your curiosity kicks back into gear. As you open it, you stare in disbelief…you think to yourself “this can’t be–this doesn’t make sense.” Silence. Deep breathing and even deeper wonder.
And then it dawns on you: it will never make sense. Recorded in your file and credited to you is the Innocent One’s life–His standing at the right hand of the Father.
To understand that you are a justified sinner is to understand that there are two distinctive sides of the same coin–one side is our undeserved, thorough forgiveness and the other side is our attainment of Christ’s righteousness.
“On the cross, God treats Jesus as if He had lived your life so that He can treat you as if you had lived His life.” John MacArthur, Pastor and Teacher