“No one is above the law!” demand the detractors. “There’s a two-tiered system of justice!” say the supporters. Today’s political news is more likely to be about scandal and justice than statesmanship and the national good.
Why would I risk losing you, dear reader, by bringing up politics, scandal, and justice? Because something good has come from a scandal about justice. The courtroom, a place of justice, is also a picture of God’s scandalous grace.
Critics complain that Christianity makes people feel guilty. But it’s our inherent sense of right and wrong that makes us feel guilty because we are – nobody’s perfect (Rom. 3:23). “The line separating good and evil passes right through every human heart,” writes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Christianity offers the only solution to that deep, soul-searching guilt.
We want justice for others, but innocence for ourselves. If not innocent, then we try to avoid detection and consequences. I know no one who enjoys being accused in court. Well, maybe except Greta Thornburg, the young climate activist who keeps defying the courts. I forgot a jury summons once. It was quite uncomfortable knowing the judge could have fined or jailed me.
Say you are in a courtroom facing a bench trial – no jury. The prosecutor tells the judge all you have done. Your reputation has preceded you. The judge looks at you, the accused. You drop your eyes, feeling your guilt. At that moment your advocate steps forward. “I vouch for this one. She’s innocent.” The judge drops all charges and throws out the case for lack of evidence. It’s a scandal because you, formerly guilty as accused, walk out of the courtroom blameless and joyful.
The Bible says, “He who believes in Him is not judged” (John 3:18). Jesus Christ our Lord is able to “make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude 24). God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). And the great question is, if “every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:2-3).
Your response to that probing question is faith and repentance. To those who reason that forgiveness enables more sin, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires” (Titus 2:11-12). It’s not “what I can get away with,” but “what I can do away with” in living the blameless life. When you grasp God’s grace, it changes you.
The Bible says that Christ crucified is scandalon (Greek, 1 Cor. 1:23). It’s scandalous because God the Son took the blame so you might be blameless. The forgiveness granted in that celestial courtroom is good, and it’s for you. That is a picture of grace!