Our legal system, and by extension our society, is built upon a system of justice. The notion that persons who are accused of violating certain standards of pre-defined acceptable behavior should face a jury of their peers to determine guilt or innocence, and where appropriate, to be sentenced to a suitable form of punishment as prescribed in law. As many can attest, the system is not perfect but for the most part, it works.
I thought of this as I read the Psalmist’s, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (103:8-12, KJV). If God were to demand justice of transgressors the way society does, none would be found innocent. Just in case anyone of us thinks differently about it, not only does Paul reminds us that we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but that having been found guilty, the sentence of death follows – “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Under our legal system, each individual has to bear the consequences of his own actions; no substitutions are allowed. But thank God, He doesn’t treat us that way but sent His only begotten Son and “made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Being made the righteousness of God in Christ means we do not have a “criminal record” associated with our name, but we are in right standing with Him. Through His grace and mercy, God takes our confessed sins and as far as the east is from the west, that far He has removed them from us. From my limited perspective, that distance is immeasurable!
We have a lot to be thankful for and especially so today, Good Friday, as we reflect on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. A great place to start is to thank our Heavenly Father for His unfathomable and unfailing love; for His unspeakable gift. When was the last time you did that?