By Stephen Altrogge
You’ve got a rap sheet longer than The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition. You’re no stranger to crime. You might even say that you are a crime prodigy of sorts. From a young age you showed a curious ability to take something good and prestidigitate it into something wicked. With a flourish of the hand and a flick of the fingers, you could produce evil out of thin air. Others followed your lead, impressed by your ability and confidence. But truth be told, you can’t really brag about your skillz (yes with a “Z”).
Because I too am a crime prodigy. So is every other person who walks upon Planet Earth. Of course, I’m referring to spiritual crimes committed against God. This Earth is one, massive spiritual crime syndicate.
Ponder for just a moment the vast number of crimes you have committed. Anger. Impatience. Lust. Sexual perversion. Ignoring the poor. Extreme selfishness. Hypocrisy. Greed. Pornography. Selfish ambition. The list goes on and on. I have a history of crimes against God, and these crimes are serious. To blatantly disobey my Creator is no small thing. I cannot get off on a technicality or have my charges reduced. My sentence is eternal death with no possibility of parole.
Is there any hope for me? Yes there is. There is one man who knows the law so well that he can arrange an appropriate plea bargain with God. And in a strange twist of fates, the plea bargain involves the lawyer giving himself up in my place. The terms of the plea bargain are as follows:
Christ stands as our advocate before God’s bar and pleads before the Father. Whatever can rightly be charged upon us, he accepts the whole charge upon himself, acknowledging the crimes to be his own. And this, he must do. If he hides the sin, or lessens it, he is faulty; if he leaves it still upon us, we die. He must then take our iniquity to himself, make it his own, and so deliver us. (John Bunyan)
What a wonderfully, bewilderingly strange arrangement Christ has secured on our behalf! He takes all of our crimes upon himself and acknowledges them to be his own. I could never have arranged such an intricate, extravagant pardon. Only someone with a full knowledge of God’s law and a full knowledge of God’s love could devise such a plan. Only God could arrange such a pardon.
Be happy today! Be of good cheer! You are free. You have an advocate who has taken your crimes upon himself. Rejoice in such a pardon.
Stephen Altrogge serves as pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA. Stephen is author of the books Game Day For the Glory of God: A Guide For Athletes, Fans, and Wanabes and The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence. Stephen blogs at The Blazing Center.