By Jana Kelley
Imagine you’re the defendant in a criminal case, waiting to hear whether or not you’ll be sentenced to die. You can barely breathe. Your chest hurts. Every minute ticks by in slow agony.
“Has the jury reached a verdict?”
“Yes, your honor.”
Your heart pounds and you struggle to grasp what has just happened. With one word, your future is forever changed.
Though my scenario is hypothetical, the reality is you and I deserve a “guilty” verdict. Every single time. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned” and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
Perhaps we tried our hardest to do everything right. It doesn’t matter, because we’ll never be perfect.
That’s why Christ came to earth. He lived a perfect life and was the only one able to do that. When He died on the cross, He suffered the punishment that should’ve been ours.
It’s done. He paid our debt. If we receive Him as our Savior, our condemnation has been lifted. Jesus took it.
This is more than a legal arrangement. When we accept Jesus’ death on the cross as our replacement, we become unified with Him. Jesus lives in us. This is the unique and unexplainable privilege we have if we believe in Christ: we’ve been absolved, though we didn’t deserve it.
We still sin, and this breaks our hearts. But we can receive comfort in knowing that because of the price Jesus paid, we’ve received mercy and grace.
Guilty? Yes. Condemned? No. What a marvelous mystery!
Jana Kelley, a contributor to Wholly Loved Ministries’ devotional project, is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. She and her husband married in college and by their second anniversary, they lived in a remote African town. After 13 years in Africa and the Middle East, they moved to Southeast Asia where they and their three boys currently live. Jana is the author of two devotional books and three novels. You can learn more about her at janakelley.com.
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