Have you ever been wrongly accused or misunderstood ? Do you remember how that feels ? Everything in you cries out against it. There can be anger and an acute sense of injustice; a longing to lash out – or at least get the record straight.
I usually find that by the time I realise that a person is being so hurtful and unreasonable, that my reaction is too late; the incident is passed and I am left feeling not just the hurt but the frustration at not having ‘got my own back’.
A sense of justice lies in us all. Children in the playground manifest this fundamental human trait most clearly.
“That’s not fair !”
Justice matters. Those who do wrong must be punished. Those who kill, or rape or rob are clearly candidates for arrest, trial and conviction to a long term of imprisonment. They deserve what they get. And that must be the case, otherwise evil would be rewarded and the good constantly thwarted.
Justice is essential.
Most of us don’t do such things. Most of us live lawful lives, and would not dream of committing a crime.
But that is a human standard. And by human standards most of us are ok.
But what about a Perfect Standard, an Absolute Standard ?
Can we meet that ?
No, but then we don’t need to, do we ?
Or do we !
What about that selfish voice within us that demands we get our own way ? We each have our own selfish, hidden self. We each wrong our neighbour at some point, if only in thought. And this hidden selfishness is what leads to all the disharmony we see in the world.
Not just on the news bulletins, but in our own relationships at work, or school or home.
We are not perfect, yet if we stop and think about it, our imperfections do matter. They do affect our lives and those around us.
Interestingly, the standard God our Creator demands is Perfection.
God sees in a way we choose not to see. The totality of our selfishness, our hidden ‘sin’.
He knows all, and he knows what hidden sin does. It festers, it affects, it infects and it upsets. We don’t have to stop and consider long whether this happens; we know it happens.
In fact we cannot help it. We are born with it. We have inherited it. It came down to us from our very first parents who thought they knew better than God, and disobeyed God.
They rejected God, and he rejected them. And in rejecting them, he rejected us.
God being Perfect, and Holy and utterly True, he cannot abide evil [that which opposes him or his will] in his presence. He hates it. He must punish and banish it. That is the outcome of his perfect nature.
But God is also love. In fact the personification of love. True love that is, not transitory sentimentality which changes its direction as it perceives its own interests to be. There’s that selfishness again.
God made us and the world about us for us to live in. And it is truly amazing. Except where mankind spoils it. Where human beings live in distrust and hate. In war.
God did not intend that. God intended men and women to live in harmony with him and with one another.
But man chose otherwise. And human beings continue to choose otherwise. Many deny God by their hateful actions; many abuse God by claiming they do their evil deeds on his behalf !
This is not what God ever intended.
So God did something to turn the situation around.
Human beings cannot solve this most basic problem: Sin, but God can.
Sin must be punished, but to punish sin means to punish and destroy us.
But what if God provided a substitute to be punished for us – to take our punishment in our place ?
Someone who would be arrested so we would not have to be…
Someone who would stand trial and be condemned to death so that we would not have to stand trial and be condemned …
Someone who would take our entire punishment – the punishment we deserve for our own selfishness before our holy and righteous Perfect Creator…
Someone who loved us enough to die for us, to take our place of condemnation before the all seeing and all Righteous God.
Someone good enough but blameless ?
God himself …
…they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.