How often have we read about a bench warrant issued because someone accused of a crime fails to show up in court? [For the sake of this blog let’s assume that the accused is guilty of committing a crime.] When the defendant runs from the judge he compounds his legal problems. Attempting to avoid prosecution he commits another crime.
How ironic is this? Apart from mandatory sentencing (a topic for another place and time) when the trial is over and the guilty verdict is declared the degree of punishment is in the hands of the judge. Before pronouncing sentence, the judge takes into consideration many factors. He determines how many years the guilty person will spend in jail. He may suspend the sentence or put the man on probation. When he flees from the judge, he runs from the one person who, in the end, can offer mercy.
Running from the judge is an ancient story. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the first events in recorded human history. In Genesis 3, Adam chose to commit a crime against God. The law was clear. Adam was not to eat the forbidden fruit. God not only made the law clear, He stated that punishment was certain for breaking the law. Adam understood this. When he realized that his crime was discovered, he ran from the Judge. He tried to hide from God. He tried to minimize his guilt by blaming someone else. He ran, but the truth is, he could not hide. He could not blame someone else for the choice he made.
Adam had to face his Judge as will we all. Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Judgment is certain for each of us.
Fortunately for Adam and for all us, God is a merciful Judge. He provided perfect justice and perfect mercy through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “He (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…..so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:26, 28).
Jesus died on Calvary’s cross paying the full penalty for sin. In His sacrifice, Jesus made the way for us to know full forgiveness while satisfying justice completely. God loves us so much that He offered mercy by sending His Son, Jesus, to pay our penalty. We can’t avoid justice, but we can receive mercy when we accept Christ as our Savior.
The next time you and I hear the account of a felon skipping out on bail and fleeing the county we do well to remember how many times we run from the Judge because we don’t want to face our own sin. Instead of reacting with immediate disdain for that criminal, we ought to see our own tendency to run from the God who loves us. The story of someone else running from an earthly judge compels us to run to our eternal Judge with thanksgiving for His mercy.
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