Imagine this. A thief breaks into your home and steals your stuff. He steals everything, everything. Your house is barren — even the dust is gone.
Fortunately, the police manage to catch the criminal. Apparently, the thief’s name is Erick, a kind of shaggy, sad-looking guy. When he goes to court, he pleads guilty but begs the judge to let him go because he’s usually a good person. After all, he doesn’t usually steal. It’s been over a year, a whole year, since he last stole something! You see, Erick has been really depressed lately because his dog just died, so he needed some drugs to get over the pain.
“You know how it is, right?” Erick tells the judge while he looks down on the floor with a tear in his eye. “Please let me go. I promise, promise, I won’t do it again.” (He said that the same thing last time too.)
The judge sighs and nods sympathetically. “Yeah,” the judge says, “I understand. When my dog died I cried for hours.”
“So, you’ll let me go?!” Erick says with a hopeful smile, wiping the tear out of his eye.
“I will,” the judge says with a wide smile like he was Santa Claus himself. “I’m a loving judge after all!”
So Erick goes off scot-free. He doesn’t have to pay you any compensation. He practically jumps out of the courtroom, humming a jolly tune to himself, while you just stand there and gawk.
What do you think? Wasn’t that a satisfying story?
No, of course not. If that had actually happened to you, you would have been furious. The court was unjust and wrong. Injustice irritates you (and rightly so), but have you ever wondered why it irritates you? This demand for justice that we humans have, isn’t found in the animal kingdom; it’s an exclusively human need. Animals do not protest injustice in the streets; we do. We can even grieve over injustices that weren’t even committed against our selves, like murders in other nations or wars that took place before we were even born. Even injustice in fictional stories (like this one) can annoy us. Where does this come from? Why does injustice feel so wrong?
I can tell you why. It is because you’re made in the image of God. Injustice upsets you because injustice upsets God. He loves righteousness; therefore, he wrote his holy law on our conscience so that we would know what is right and wrong. One day, he will judge the world in righteousness, which is a good thing because it means that nobody will ever get away with crime (like Erick did in this story).
In addition to writing his law on our conscience, he has also given us the Ten Commandments, which we can objectively test ourselves with. Have you ever lied? Stolen anything (like money, candy, pirate copies online)? Lusted? Hated someone? Blasphemed God’s name? Then you too have broken God’s law (sinned). You are guilty. Everyone is guilty. God tells us that none are righteous, no, not one.
Imagine yourself in the heavenly courtroom. You’re in front of God, the perfect judge of all the universe. Unlike the corrupt judges on earth, God cannot be deceived, persuaded, or bribed. He loathes injustice and corrupt judges who let the guilty go free. The Bible says that he “will by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7).
It doesn’t matter how much philanthropy you do. No amount of good works can erase your crimes. Just as you only need to steal something once to be guilty of theft, you only need to break God’s law once to be guilty of sin. Therefore, you cannot tell God that you were a nice guy 99% of the time. God is the judge of all creation who will judge you for your crimes; he is not your school teacher who will grade your life. He judges you guilty and sentences you to jail, barred from life. That is justice.
If that were the end, you would be doomed. And not just you, everyone would perish.
But It Is Not The End
This is the Good News (the Gospel) comes in. Someone else has come to pay the fine that you are incapable of paying for yourself. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, came down from heaven and lived the perfect life from the day he was born until the day he died, in a way that none of us could ever do. Jesus loved the world, so he went to the cross on our behalf, where he was punished for our sins. God unleashed his righteous wrath against Jesus, instead of against us. The Bible says:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.Isaiah 53:4–6
Jesus was punished so that we could go free. He was cursed so that we could be blessed. He died so that we could live.
Then he arose on the third day conquering death and was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses. He fulfilled many prophesies in the Old Testament, including the one above from the book of Isaiah, which is written hundreds of years before Jesus.
To be justified in the sight of God, you must repent of (turn away from) your sins and trust in Jesus. Then God will forgive your sins and give you eternal life as a gift. God will adopt you and be your eternal father who will take care of you forever. Afterwards, you can get to know God by reading the Bible and praying.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16