Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a courtroom for the first time in my life. I can’t say it was something I was looking forward to. I’ll avoid the unnecessary details about what brought me there, other then to say it was regarding a debt that I at least partially and rightfully owed. I watched quietly as the judge entered the courtroom and carefully listened as she began to explain procedures for the days proceedings.
One by one each case and defendant/plaintiff would have an opportunity to approach the bench, each case individually heard, and a fair and appropriate judgement would be given upon conclusion. When my name was called, with trembling I approached the bench.
She beamed with confident authority, “Are you Miss. Stolaas?”
“Yes ma’am I am,” I said quietly.
“Have you had a chance to discuss this case with the other plaintiffs attorney miss Stolaas?” She asked.
“No ma’am, I have not,” I glanced down, nervous, and not quite sure what would happen next.
The judge asked us to exit the courtroom and discuss the matter outside before proceeding any further. We both promptly walked out, me with a binder of my prepared defense in hand, and the plaintiffs attorney with his notebook.
We calmly and professionally discussed the matter that had brought us to court in the first place. Thankfully, after about 30 minutes of negotiating back and forth we were able to reach a fair and amicable resolution for both parties. Because we were able to reach a resolution outside of court we went back into the courtroom with the new resolution and had the case dismissed before the judge. I was then free to depart without any further obligation to the plaintiff.
I share this because I have often heard judgement day before God explained as a courtroom scenario. Because I’d never set foot in court before, it honestly was difficult for me to identify with such a picture. On the drive home, I thought of the unfathomable beauty of the verdict I know would result from a hearing before a Holy God. You see, without a doubt in my mind, I know I am guilty. Not just of big sins, but of little, every day, constant failures and character flaws! On judgement day I know I will stand before a God that is infinitely more holy then I could ever imagine.
When my heart stops beating you and I will face a very real, potentially terrifying court-like scenario. The sad thing is on that day the option to exit the court room to negotiate a judgement will not be possible; it will be too late. The verdict given is final and eternal. No appeals for good behavior and no shortened sentences or paroles exist. Our response on earth to God will be the only factor judgement is based on.
My accuser, Satan, may hold a explicitly written notebook with my chronicles of my sins. Accurate facts and true accounts of the lies I’ve told, people I’ve hurt, times I’ve bursted in anger, and immoral thoughts I’ve had. Perhaps my accuser will read them aloud citing each failure individually. In Romans 12:10 it states that Satan actually accuses us before God night and day. Night and day. Like a broken record on repeat, Satan consistently reminding a Holy God of how unworthy, filthy, polluted with sin my life is. Have you ever wondered what that looks like? “She lied about this…. and this time she yelled at her kids for no reason…. this time she used foul language….and this time she wished harm on her friend…this time…oh look at this one…”
I am solely responsible for my actions, choices, and poor decisions. On that day I will be very deserving of every imaginable penalty that a just judge could handout. However, the mind blowing beauty is that when the accuser is finished stating his case, because I have trust Jesus and His payment for my debt, I know that I can expect some incredible words to come from the judges mouth. With complete authority and assurance the grand maker of the heavens will declare, “Not guilty. Case dismissed.” The same God who knows every careless word I’ve spoken, every indecent thought I’ve had, and every shameful act I’ve committed will be the one who declares me free to walk away from the wrath I deserve.
Though my mind can’t wrap around what an incredible day that will be, my heart is brimming with thankfulness that I know the verdict. The wonderful news is not a single person has to walk into this final courtroom unprepared. When Jesus lived a sinless life, died, and rose again He offered pardon for all those who would simply believe in and accept Him. There is no question in my mind about my guilt, yet, I rejoice in the certainty that my debt has already been paid in full!