Archive for July, 2012

I just spent a month at a program called Shad Valley (which I hope to tell you about in another post soon), and I had some… interesting… conversations with a guy named Mohammad from Saudi Arabia. As you might be able to tell from the name, he’s a Muslim. If you know me or have read any of my posts before, you probably know I’m a Christian. So of course Mo and I discussed what it is we believe. He pointed out how odd it is that God only forgives someone after their sin has been paid for by blood. It’s even weirder that, since Jesus and God are the same guy, God had to harm himself to forgive us. And you know what, when explained like that, it is really weird. But you know what, Mo? This one’s for you.

Let’s take a look at human judicial systems, shall we? First of all, while we’re on the topic, I want to answer a question that many others have posed to me: if it’s a sin for humans to judge, why is it ok for God to judge? Well, in our justice system, the public does not issue fines to each other or sentence each other to jail. That’s for an authority figure, like a judge, to do in a courtroom. So, when it come to much bigger matters like where the soul is going to end up, it’s not a job for another human, but for the supreme authority, God.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, justice. Well,  in human justice systems, if you do something wrong, there’s some sort of punishment  or retribution that the offender has to suffer because of what they’ve done. It only makes sense, right? If there was no consequences, what’s there to stop a person from doing wrong? Now imagine that somebody was allowed to voluntarily take the punishment for a criminal. Actually, I think that’s legal in some places (not that it’s often done). The “price” of the crime, if you will, would still be paid, but the offender himself or herself would be let off scott free.

Let’s translate this into a spiritual sense. According to the Bible, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23) So instead of a fine or jail time, the Supreme Judge says that all criminals – that is, sinners – deserve the death penalty. Harsh, I know, since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But, luckily, there’s that thing that allows someone else to die instead. A couple thousand years ago, before the death and resurrection of Christ, people would sacrifice animals in their place. However, since animal lives are not equal to human lives, each animal that died only covered a couple of sins, and people had to kill a lot of lambs and goats and bulls and doves and stuff.

Then, along come these religious leaders called Pharisees. They took the God’s Law, which listed what was a sin and what wasn’t, as well as the proper punishment for each, and added their own ideas to it, so that people were being oppressed to the point of not seeing what God wanted through all the Pharisees’ traditions and opinions they sold as just as important as the Law. So, the Supreme Judge decided to fulfill the Law once and for all, by sending His own Son, Jesus, to be a final sacrifice, worth enough to cover the infinite sins of humanity throughout the ages.

God could have saved Jesus from death on the cross, but in doing so would have abandoned humanity to the Law, which was becoming more corrupt all the time, and it would have become nearly impossible for a person to remain righteous in the eyes of the Law. He still did save Jesus, though. When Jesus had been dead for three days, He came back to life! The implications of the resurrection are many, and a good topic for a post on another day, perhaps. But the point is, because of His death and then victory over death, all a person has to do now is believe, repent, and  accept forgiveness, and their sins are wiped clean off the record. Repentance doesn’t just mean saying sorry (although that’s a part of it), it has more to do with actually, truly, deep down, being sorry, which only God and you can know for sure. In that way, forgiveness is free, but it doesn’t excuse sin.

See Mo? Does it make a bit more sense now?
To Mo and everyone else, thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak