Years ago, after leaving my ex-husband and learning how to navigate my new life, I spiraled deeply into wickedness. I had no self-esteem, no motivation, no purpose, no direction, just emptiness. What came naturally to me, at the time, was doing what pleased me without care for anyone else. It was a dark, lonely, self-serving place.
I don’t like to revisit that time in my life, but to understand what I’m about to share, it’s relevant.
Many of my nights were filled with drunkenness, debauchery, lies, emptiness and blackouts. I could easily blame my ex-husband. I left him for valid reasons and wanted to start over. “He made me this way”, I wanted to believe. “Had he loved me better, or paid attention to me, I wouldn’t have to do what I’m doing.”
But that’s not the truth.
My actions fall on me. I chose sin. I chose darkness. I chose the lies that made me believe I meant something to some people. None of it was true. I rejected everything I knew and chose the enemy. Sin feels good. But it’s costly.
I got caught.
In 2007, after a full day of day-drinking and continuing into the early morning hours, I was pulled over leaving a bar in a nearby city. My BAC was almost 3x the legal limit.
I was arrested. Handcuffs on my wrists, rights read, and escorted to the backseat of a police cruiser. I was so out of it, I don’t think I even realized what was happening.
Hours passed. I woke up in a cell. A thought hit me: I was going to have a record. I was a criminal. I had broken the law.
The next few days were a blur – sharing my news with my parents, stopping to get items from my car as it was impounded, acquiring a lawyer, determining how to pay for court costs and dates that I would have to be out of work, trying not to lose my job, and and the hangover wearing off.
Reality was setting in.
My freedom was gone.
I had to deal with the consequences of breaking the law.
Standing in a courtroom with a lawyer was nerve-wracking, but provided some comfort.
He told me to plead “Not Guilty.”
In my mind, I thought, ‘Why would I? I clearly did what they are accusing me of.’ But that’s not how our justice system works. If you can prove that you MAY NOT HAVE DONE what they said, you could be found not guilty.
I pled not guilty, at his insistence. I waited the anxiety-inducing weeks and then had to go in front of the judge.
Friends, I was declared GUILTY, of driving under the influence and endangering other drivers. And rightfully so.
With that, came a sentence of a significant amount of money owed to the court and my lawyer, the inability to drive my car, a requirement to attend a ‘dry weekend’ at a hotel for education purposes and loss of my license for a year. I complied with all that was necessary, over the course of six months.
The lesson was not lost on me. I had a real problem and needed to deal with it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to stand in front of a judge before. I honestly pray you don’t, this side of Heaven.
But I can assure you that there will be a time that we will all stand before the only Judge that matters – God, our Heavenly Father and Creator.
If we had to stand before God today, would we be found GUILTY or NOT GUILTY? What are the charges, you ask?
God has a standard of perfection. The Law was given to Moses and passed down to all generations. In the Ten Commandments, the Lord shows us what He requires, and none of us can meet it.
Genesis 3 provides the account of how humanity fell in the Garden of Eden. Eve was tempted by the serpent and because of the allure to “be like God, knowing good and evil”, she bit into the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and lost the intimacy she and Adam shared with God.
In that moment, a curse was placed on ALL of us.
In a way, we’ve had handcuffs on ever since. We are bound to our sin. We, too, want to be “little gods”, acting in our own power, without repercussions or consequences, but we cannot be like the one true God. We aren’t meant to be.
We can wrestle with sin, reject it, or give into it. But we can’t escape it. We live out and act out of our fleshly desires instead of what is righteous and truly good DAILY.
We even make excuses, “Everyone else is doing it. How is it hurting you? Who are you to judge me? You’ve never walked in my shoes.”
But it warrants punishment.
Because we all have a sin nature, we cannot overcome the curse on our own.
And because it has taken up residence in us, and we choose sin over the Lord, we have consequences that warrant judgement.
The Word of God gives us many clues on which outcome we may face:
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”Romans 3:10
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;Psalm 96:11-13
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?Romans 2:1-3
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.Romans 14:10
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.Ecclesiastes 12:14
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.2 Corinthians 5:10
When we pass from this life to the next, or when the Lord returns and this world is ending, we will all stand before the Throne of God.
For some, it will be the most horrifying day, because their fate will have been determined by an unwillingness to repent and acknowledge how they have chosen sin, and because of that, will incur the wrath of God, and the punishment for sins, which is death.
For the wages of sin is death.Romans 6:23
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.Acts 17:31
Why am I writing about Judgement Day on Resurrection Sunday?
Because the outcome we all deserve has been given an aside. There is an opportunity to stand before the Judge and NOT RECEIVE what one is due.
Today, many Christians around the globe celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Though the world has tried to deny the Resurrection of the person of Jesus Christ, there is physical evidence of His bodily resurrection, and eyewitnesses who saw Him for a period of forty days after. And not only the physical evidence is significant.
The implication of His resurrection is that the curse that has been on humanity since the beginning of our creation has been lifted! Scripture tells us that Jesus WAS the spotless lamb that bled and died to signify atonement for sin.
For centuries, the faithful would go to the Temple in Jerusalem and have a lamb marked for death because of their sin. God had laid out perfectly a routine for the Israelite nation, a shadow of things to come in Christ. Annually, they would go and a priest would transfer their sin to a lamb, that had to be killed to spill blood and then justify the people SINLESS before their Holy God. This was known as the Day of Atonement.
NOW, in Christ, we have the perfect, sinless Son of God, declared dead after being crucified on a cross by Roman soldiers…declared GUILTY for crimes HE never committed. God chose to make and accept the death of His own Son, the requirement to buy back / redeem us so we could be declared righteous and have a relationship with God the Father.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'”Galatians 3:13
And when Jesus’ body was raised from the dead on the third day, He declared sin a curse no more. Death no longer holds those of us who faith in Jesus.
That knowledge changed everything for me.
Dear ones, I don’t know what it’s like to stand in front of a judge and be declared NOT GUILTY.
I was found GUILTY for what I had done, and served my punishment. I also DESERVED my punishment.
This resurrection of Jesus means that by placing faith in Him and declaring Him my Lord, I can be found NOT GUILTY for ALL sins I’ve committed; past, present and future! When I stand before Him at the end of my earthly life, He will KNOW me and declare me RIGHTEOUS.
Jesus took it ALL! The wrath of God was poured out on Him for our iniquities, and with Jesus’ last breath, SIN AND ETERNAL DEATH died with Him!
Now, that last sentence is only possible if you truly believe that Jesus is the Christ – the Messiah that was promised to the Israel nation and was given for all men. EVEN GENTILES!
He is the Son of God, the perfect God-man who redeemed us. If you place your faith in Christ, the work of Jesus on the cross is imputed to you. God declares all of our righteous acts as a “polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6), like filthy rags. There is no amount of works possible to make us righteous. Salvation is by faith alone, through Christ alone.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.Ephesians 2:1-9
…None of us can boast. We can’t earn it, speak it into existence, do anything to take it…it’s a gift that is freely given by God.
He knew we didn’t ask for the curse, and also provided the solution, that requires a choice.
Have you given yourself to desires that aren’t healthy, leave you feeling empty, make you feel like you have to prove yourself? Life is not meant to be a tedious venture, but it is a time period the Lord has allowed us to live and He desires for us to come to Him, repent of our sin, and be made new, be made ALIVE.
We will all die once, a physical death. But if you reject Jesus and the free gift of salvation, you will die a second death.
“[A]s for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
The gift that Jesus’ resurrection offers is eternal life: BE BORN AGAIN spiritually and DIE ONCE! Your last breath here will be your first in Heaven with Christ. And you will witness your own acquittal, friend, because Jesus took your sin so you could be declared righteous.
His act of LOVE was to prevent you from choosing death. Please don’t let that be your destiny. You still have a choice.
Let TODAY be the day of salvation! Let the day of the Resurrection be a new day for you! And if you choose Christ, I’d love to hear about it!! See the link on my website “CHAT ABOUT JESUS” for more information or reach out to me personally.
I’d love to spend the rest of my eternity WITH YOU!!!