According to the Law
Court cases are something that today's society, especially here in the united Sates and Canada, have become accustomed to. We hear about them in the newspapers, see them or their results on TV, and hear about them everywhere we go. From criminal trials, to civil trials involving lawsuits, to cases that go before the Supreme Court, they have become part of our culture. Prosecution/ Plaintiff versus Defendant/ Respondent, a judge to hear the case, a jury if the trial has one, and an audience in many cases.
Due to this, most folks believe that when they die and have to stand before the Lord, that he will be judging their good deeds from their bad, in order to determine whether they go to heaven or to hell. They figure that it will be a trial, and that they will be allowed to "present" their case before him, to show him how much good they have done, and that for all their bad, their good deeds somehow merit entry into paradise.
Unfortunately, all of that is WRONG.
Scripture tells us:
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6, KJV)
Our deeds, virtuous to us, are nothing more than oily, rotted, dirty rags to the lord. They are NOTHING that would or COULD ever impress him.
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips.Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18, NIV)
Both Isaiah and Paul make it clear our "righteousness" is garbage, and that we are spiritually bankrupt. But even moreso than that, the "trial" as it were, is already OVER:
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:19-20, KJV)
The Ten Commandments, the Law that is spoken of here and which is the basis for all the laws of the Torah, is evidence that mankind is guilty as charged. If we go through each law honestly and ask ourselves if we have broken them, all of us have to admit to breaking at least 5 of them: Idolatry, lying, adultery (lust), Murder (being angry with someone unjustly) and covetousness (wanting what another has). And as James tells us:
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." (James 2:10-11, KJV)
All it takes is breaking ONE commandment to be guilty; to break one of them means that others had to be broken in order to accomplish breaking that single one. The Law is interconnected and seamless, much like tunic was without a seam: you cannot separate one and not have the others come to bear.
The basis of our guilt is described by Paul for both the gentile:
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?" (Romans 2:1-3, NIV)
"(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)" (Romans 2:14-15, NIV)
And for the Jew:
"Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker" ( Romans 2: 17-27, NIV)
Paul seals it with this:
"What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin." ( Romans 3:9, NIV)
Our guilt is further confirmed in the words of the Lord Jesus himself:
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18, KJV)
But Paul reveals the purpose of the law: to expose our sin, and to show us that we are guilty before the Lord:
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:24-26, NIV)
And Paul tells us what the penalty of sin is:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23, KJV)
So, when you think about it, there is no trial to be had; all judgment day serves to do is to serve sentence to those that have trusted in their own righteousness, rather than to depend on the love gift God has given us...
Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
You see, man's guilt was certain, and the sentence was declared. mankind was convicted as charged, and there was no way out. But while the law and the punishment could not be set aside, it could be satisfied:
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:1-2, KJV)
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16, KJV)
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:8-11, NIV)
By paying the penalty in our place, we can have peace with God through Jesus Christ, whose righteousness them becomes our own; we are seen by God through the Lord Jesus:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6, KJV)
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering" (Romans 8:1-3, NIV)
If, like many out there, you are thinking that by good works or by self-righteousness that you will enter heaven:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV)
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV)
I'm sorry, but scripture says otherwise.
The Bible tells us how we can enter heaven:
"That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 9-13, NIV)
If you are counting on pleading with God after you die to let you into heaven, that isn't going to work. You are guilty of sinning against God, and the law has declared you guilty. But even moreso than that, you have sinned before a just and holy God, who is the most innocent being in all existence. You have wronged the Lord, and that is a crime that deserves the penalty prescribed for it: eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.
The facts of this case have been presented, as has the judgment. The only recourse you have to to:
- Admit your guilt before God as a sinner
- Be willing to turn from your sin (repent)
- Believe in your heart that Christ died for you on the cross as payment for your sin
- Ask Jesus to become your lord and Saviour (accept him into your heart and give your heart to him)
This article is written for those who have never known the Lord. Whoever wishes to use this for witnessing has my permission to do so; the time is so very short and we need to reach as many as we can while we yet have light.