Summary: This message illustrates the doctrine of justification with a courtroom proceding with Jesus as judge and redeemer.
“The Court Record”
Have you ever been in a courtroom? I won’t ask any of you here this morning to raise your hand if you have been to court. But I will tell you a story about one of my court experiences. Before you get worried and think that you welcomed a Pastor into your church that has a criminal record, let me assure you that my court experiences were not for my own crimes. As many of you know, I served several years in the United Marine Corps. I served the bulk of that time as a Sergeant and a Staff Sergeant; which simply means that I was always in charge of several young Marines. I remember one occasion in particular. Just before my work section was due to return from lunch I received a phone call from Lance Corporal Underwood. Keith. He was calling to inform me that he had been detained at the Yuma, Arizona, County courthouse. My first thought was that he had gone out and gotten arrested on his lunch break, but he went on to tell me the story of how a year earlier he received a ticket for fishing without the proper license on the Colorado River. The fine was only around one hundred dollars and he planned to pay it the next pay day. Well… he forgot. He suddenly had remembered some 12 months later and decided to go to the courthouse during his lunch break to pay the fine. Much to his surprise, the person at the ticket payment window referred him a sheriff’s deputy who referred him to a warrant which had been published for his arrest. The deputy told him to sit on a bench and wait for a break in the judge’s schedule so that he could be seen that day. Well, when I arrived at the courthouse Keith was more than a little bit shaken and upset. After a few hours of waiting we finally went into see the judge. Keith was obviously nervous and shaken. This was the very last thing that he wanted to be doing that afternoon. Not to mention his fears over what I and the other leadership in our work section were bound to say later. As Keith stood in front of the judge, I sat in the back of the small courtroom on a bench. The judge had Keith stand and after explaining to him that there was a warrant for his arrest and that since he had waited to pay the fine it had now increased to as much as several thousand dollars and was punishable by as many as 18 months in jail. Keith was very nervous. Well, the judge asked him, “How do you plea.” Almost as if on queue, Keith slowly turned to look to me for his answer. I gave him a scowl and a gesture turn back to the judge. The judge slammed his hand on the bench and said, “Young man, I asked you how do you plea.” Keith, rather sheepishly, replied. “Guilty, Sir.” The judge gave Keith quite and earful about handling his responsibilities and told him about how he appreciated his military service and told him that if he could pay double the original fine that day then he could settle the issue. So I helped Keith pay his fine that day and the affair was settled. I tell you, I must have a hundreds similar stories from the young Marines that I was responsible for or others that I worked with.