Summary: Wil God hold things against me.

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I’m thankful to say that I’ve never been the subject of courtroom proceedings, though I was called to testify once and, specifically, to answer questions upon a subject on which I had some knowledge. The hope was that my answers would help the court settle a conflict between two people.

Each party had an attorney, and the intent of each was evident in the way they framed their queries. One asked me questions whose answers she hoped would confirm the suspicions of the man bringing the case that his opponent owed him damages for a wrong done to him. The other attorney, who was defending the person against whom the case was brought, asked me questions of quite a different tone: his were framed to get answers that would demonstrate that the defendant was guiltless of the charge against her.

Please understand that I wasn’t on trial. I was merely a witness—one of several. Yet even in my minor role I felt the great weight of these proceedings. This wasn’t a game. It wasn’t a television drama. One person would win, and the other would lose. One would go home happy—the other disappointed. One would be relieved of financial responsibility, the other would suffer a financial loss.

And who would decide? A judge, who heard both sides of the case, evaluated the arguments, and chose among them.

The Great Courtroom

Life isn’t just a game or a fictional drama either. The Bible’s view is that we human beings are held responsible for the choices we make during our allotted span of life. There’s a right way and a wrong way to live. There are good actions and bad ones. And eventually we’ll all have to answer to God, the righteous Judge, for the choices we’ve made.

The Bible describes heaven’s courtroom in Daniel 7:9, 10: “As I looked, ‘thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. . . . Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened’ ” (Daniel 7: 9, 10). Those adjudged righteous will receive eternal life, while the others will be destroyed (see verses 22, 26).

In an earthly courtroom there’s always someone who’s making an accusation, someone who says, “This person deserves to be punished.” And so it is in this heavenly courtroom. His name is Satan, and he’s called “the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10).

We know, of course, that God hates sin. He has since the beginning, when He made this world without a trace of sin in it. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity,” He says in Isaiah 61:8. To be sure we understood the stakes, He decreed that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

But God isn’t our accuser. God hates sin, but He loves sinners. The Bible’s most famous passage begins with the words “God so loved the world” (John 3:16, italics added). Satan is the plaintiff, “The accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). Inasmuch as Satan is always trying to get human beings to sin, why would he condemn us for doing so? The answer is simple: He’s wholly untrustworthy. “He is a liar,” said Jesus, “and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan loves sin, and he hates sinners.

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