Summary: We all will meet Jesus someday. What's your plan for that moment?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN JUSTICE? One that’s required if you want justice is judgment.
- There resides with almost all of us a desire for justice. It hurts us to watch the end of a trial and see in the verdict that someone got away with it. It’s just not right. And that bothers us.
- There seems to be something hardwired within us that longs for justice.
- I would argue that is a sign that we are made by a Creator who is just.
- We long for justice, but that creates a problem for us. In order to get justice you have to have judgment.
- We all know this when it comes to the human court system. We need a judge in a black robe (or a jury) to render judgment and pronounce the sentence. You must have judgment if you’re going to have justice.
- When it comes to ultimate justice, there must be judgment to accomplish that.
- That, of course, creates a problem. What is that problem?
THAT CREATES A PROBLEM: We deeply want justice but we also really want our sin excused.
- So we have this deeply ingrained desire for justice within us, we also know that we fall short of being perfect.
- We have these two contradictory ideas: we believe in the need for ultimate justice but we also know that we have done some things wrong.
- We’re really good at excusing our sins. We have countless ways to explain them away.
- It’s pathetic, but we’ve got to handle our cognitive dissonance somehow.
OUR JUSTIFICATION: “I’ve done more good than bad.”
- This is the go-to statement that people use when they think about final judgment. “If you take my life on balance, I’ve done more good than bad.”
- It’s popular, but does it hold up to thoughtful consideration?
- Two crucial questions that we don’t usually ask when we say, “I’ve done more good than bad”:
a. What does it mean to actually be good?
- When we say, “I’m good” sometimes we mean, “I’m nice.”
- But being polite is not the same thing as being a good person.
- When we say, “I’m good” sometimes we mean, “I’m good at sin management.”
- But keeping your sins well-hidden is not the same thing as being a good person.
- When we say, “I’m good” sometimes we mean, “I’m not bothering anybody.”
- But being inconspicuous is not the same things as being a good person.
- None of those three statements is the same as being good.
- Good is not just being polite or not being an ax murderer.
- Good is active Christlikeness.
- Good is forgiving the co-worker who emotionally hurt you.
- Good is choosing to spend less on yourself so you can help that child in need.
- Good is loving others before yourself.
- Good is joyfully praising God for who He is.
- When we understand the definition of “good,” we don’t look quite so good. The fact that you’re not bothering anyone because you’re wasting your life watching Netflix doesn’t make you “good.” It just makes you lazy. The fact that you show up at your job every day (whining and complaining but you need the paycheck) doesn’t make you “good.” It just makes you someone with bills.
b. What is the standard for doing bad?
- Here we also find ourselves off-track.
- The standard we usually use is what we think wrong is. We get to be the arbiter of morality. Of course, it often turns out the sins that we struggle with the most are the least serious while our enemy’s sins are the most egregious.
- And that standard varies depending on who the person committing the sin is. If someone else angrily yells at a person, that’s wrong. If I angrily yell at someone, you’ve got to understand what a bad day I had.
- The truth is that the standard of what’s wrong is what God says is wrong. Whether we agree or not.
- The obvious example is the Sermon on the Mount. Just to cite one example, Jesus says that physically having sex with someone who is not your spouse is adultery. Some would agree to that. Others would argue, “Well, if you’re in a committed relationship then it’s not a sin.” Others would argue, “Well, as long as it’s consensual then it’s not a sin.” But, of course, Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say that looking at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her in your mind. That’s an altogether different thing. Even those who would have affirmed the other statements because they’re not doing those things have to stop at that standard. If that’s the standard by which you commit adultery that has big implications for whether we are bad people. That standard makes us realize that maybe we’re not quite as good as we thought we were. That standard makes us realize that we’ve done far more bad than we typically acknowledge.