Hour of Darkness 1

I’m a ninja.

Okay, I’m not. Even if I was, I wouldn’t tell you. Or would I?

I can prove I’m a ninja. I can kill flies. Applaud me, I know you want to.

But what is the consequence of killing a fly? I may be (or may not be) a ninja who kills flies all the time, but who is going to punish me for murder? All I do is slap them and they die. Who will come to my house, arrest me, take me to court, and give me a sentence? No one. Not even PETA.

What would happen if I slapped a dog? PETA may get involved now but still no outstanding punishment.

Now what if I slapped a child? There’s going to be an angry mom! Then I may only get child abuse, which looks really bad on my record (plus I’d lose my job as a minister).

Even more than that, what if I slapped one of the most important men on earth, President Obama? I didn’t ask if you wanted me to slap him or not, I’m just saying. I would get a much more terrible punishment than all of the previous. Slapping him is a much bigger deal than slapping the common house fly.

Why? I’m doing the exact same thing, so why don’t I get the same punishment for them all?

The punishment of an action is determined by the value of the one offended.

A fly is not worth much, therefore my punishment is minimal. President Obama is one of the most valuable people on the planet (whether you see him as that or not), therefore any offense against him is liable of one of the most harsh punishments on the planet.

What if you have rebelled against, slandered, blasphemed, and metaphorically slapped the most valuable and worthy Being in the entire universe? That’s an important question, because you have done just that.

“… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

All. Every last person on earth who has ever lived. Every king, every banker, every farmer, every prostitute, every preacher, every drug dealer, every stay at home mom, every student, every teacher, every insurance salesman. All.

Every person has committed the greatest crime in the entire universe: rebelling against the most valuable Being.

Since God is eternally worthy, our punishment is just and right to be eternally severe. If God was but a mere human or dog or fly, then an eternal punishment is unjust and morally wrong.

God is also the most perfect judge, and He will judge all things and all people with perfect justice. That is scary.

Let’s say you get a really bad speeding ticket. I have gotten a few myself (I will not disclose how many), so I know they are awful. You go to court because you don’t have enough money to pay it. The judge looks at you and says, “You can either pay up now, or go to jail.” Those are your only two choices because this judge is just and knows that justice must be served. If he simply let you go, he would be unjust. You may want him to be unjust, but what if that person before him was Osama bin Laden? Would you want the judge to be unjust to him? Both of you broke the law and justice must be served for both.

God is even more just and righteous than this judge. So why would He allow injustice to rule as law? He will not and does not.

But what if someone stepped up behind you and gave the judge the exact amount you owed him?

That’s what Jesus did: He took our place on the cross.

“…[all] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom. 3:24-25a).

He paid the payment we could never pay. An invaluable price was paid to fulfill the insurmountable debt that we owed to an infinitely worthy God.  What you owed God was so much that it would take eternity to bring justice to its fullness.

Saying that God made Christ a propitiation simply means that Christ took our penalty. All the wrath (penalty for sin) that was due us, He bore for us. Romans 5:9 says that Jesus saved us from the “wrath of God.” Justice had to be served, yet while we were still sinners, God made a way.

“This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25b-26).

At the cross, God shows His justice and love at the same time. God the Father could not just let sins go unpunished. So God the Son stepped in and said “I will become sin for them so that in me they might become the righteousness of God” (paraphrase of 2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus swallowed up sin and all of its penalties for the one who is in Him, meaning those who have faith in Him.

So for those reading this who have not placed your faith in Christ to take away the eternal penalty that is due, trust in Him today. He is Savior and Lord. He is the Great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is salvation. He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

And that is good news.

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