Many people think of God as a judge. We fear the “Judgment Day,” when we all will be accountable for everything we have done wrong. And death is the gateway to that dreaded uncertainty.
We have a dilemma – we want justice, but we don’t want judgment. When unjust things happen, a sense of “it shouldn’t be that way” rises up in us. We want justice for those who wrong us. But for ourselves – we want mercy.
How can we have both, and who decides who gets what? If we want justice, there must necessarily be judgment. There’s no way around it. That’s why so many of us hope that if there is a God, He will grade on the curve.
Scripture tells us that God is absolutely holy, and we are the opposite of holy. We come screaming into this world innocent of understanding and completely selfish – and most of us spend a lifetime trying to behave our way into better character. It isn’t easy, and it certainly doesn’t come naturally.
There is only one solution for our brokenness: We need to be rescued. We simply cannot save ourselves. So, a loving creator who has asked us to address Him as our heavenly “Father” reached down into human history and sent a substitute – someone to take the punishment for us. And in that moment on Good Friday, Jesus took your punishment, and my punishment, and laid it on Himself. He paid the penalty so that justice could be served.
With justice finally satisfied, we can move on to mercy. You see, God is indeed a judge – but He is also a savior. He didn’t abandon us to our rightful verdict of guilty. He made a way for us to be forgiven. When we accept the costly gift of God’s mercy by believing that Christ died for us, a miracle happens: justice and mercy collide.
But the miracles don’t stop there. A dead savior is no good to anyone. Lots of people have given their lives for someone else. The Resurrection is absolutely the foundation of the Christian faith. Jesus had to be who He said He was – a risen savior – or He was just another crazy person who made outrageous claims and then died. End of story.
Historians cannot account for the survival of the first-century church. Persecution should have abolished the Jesus movement. But instead, another miracle happened – it grew stronger. Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people saw a risen Jesus. Not a ghost, but a person with a body that you could touch – and He promised the same for anyone who believed in Him. It was undeniable, and the only thing that was abolished was a fear of death.
And still one more miracle: He is alive in us today. He is risen indeed! And you can know Him (John 3:16-17).
To learn more about the truth of the Resurrection, read (or see the upcoming movie) “The Case for Christ” (Zondervan, 2013) by Lee Strobel.
Sharon Lennox-Infante is a Certified Life Coach who lives in Los Altos. For more information, visit SharonLennox.com.