Small Town Judge

The Good Person test revealed our guilty condition before God. In John 14:6, Jesus discloses He is the only solution for our situation and the only way to the Father. The following analogy will clarify why Jesus’ payment for our sins was necessary and why it makes Him the only way for mankind to be saved.

Imagine you live in a very small town where there is only one judge, who is also your father. He is an ethical judge who always enforces the law. You are his favorite child. You help family and friends whenever they need it, get top grades in college, hold down a good job to support your young family and give to charity. Then one night you go out with friends and drink too much. On your way home you’re arrested for DUI and reckless driving. In one instant you are in big trouble with the law.

Your day in court arrives, and if found guilty you face the option of a $5,000 fine or six months in jail. Since your father is the only judge in town, you must stand before him. As he gazes down at you from the bench, imagine the awful dilemma you have placed him in. He loves you dearly but he is an ethical judge, bound to uphold the law.

According to the Bible, God is in a similar position with us. He loves us dearly but His just nature is fully aware of every wrong thought and action we have ever committed. He knows for certain that we are guilty.

Finally, your father offers his review of the evidence, indicates you are guilty and asks if you have anything to say for yourself. You say, “Dad, I know I am guilty but I just messed up this one time. You know I am a good person.” You remind your dad of all the good things you have ever done and how this is the only mistake you’ve made. Then you begin to plead with him. “Dad, there are a lot of people much worse than me. I do not have the $5,000 for the fine and if I go to jail, I will lose my job, get kicked out of school and my family will be destitute.” You pause, then blurt out: “Please overlook the law this one time and let me go.”

The question is, can he do it and remain ethical? According to the thousands I have asked, the answer is a definite “NO.” They all agree that if he let you go, he would be corrupt.

The judge says, “Son, you know I love you dearly, but you also know I must uphold the law. I would be corrupt if I ignored it and let you go. I find you guilty as charged.” Somewhat in shock, you resign yourself to the thought that you are headed off to jail for six months. Then you notice your father standing at your side without his judge’s robe, holding $5,000 in his hand. Amazingly, he is offering to pay your fine. You need to make a decision.

1. Reject the offer and pay for your crime in jail.

2. Accept the offer and go free.

No matter which choice you select, the law is fully satisfied and the judge remains ethical. He imposed the penalty required by law, and now he offers to pay your fine. He found the only way to fulfill his love for you and to satisfy the law’s requirement of justice at the same time. This is a picture of what the Bible says God chose to do for mankind and why Jesus’ payment on the cross for our sins is the only way to freedom. God’s perfect moral nature requires all sin to be punished; God’s loving nature wants to save you from that punishment. The only way God could possibly satisfy both of His natures was to pronounce our guilt, as His just nature requires, then take our punishment Himself, paying for our sins in full. He offers to freely exchange His righteousness for our sinfulness as a gift. A legal and binding transaction took place on the cross when the requirement of the law was fulfilled through Jesus’ payment for our sins. Now you need to make a decision.

1. You can reject the offer and pay for your own sins.

2. You can accept the offer and go to heaven.

Perfect Justice collided with Perfect Love and Love won at the cross. Yes, God does forgive sins—but only for those who freely repent and place their faith entirely in Jesus, accepting the required payment He made on the cross. The only thing that stands in the way of your salvation is you. In this next verse God tells you which choice to make.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live (Deut. 30:19).


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Filed under: Apologetics

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