16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. — John 3:16–18
Hearing The Words Not Guilty
Have you ever been declared, “Not Guilty?” Years ago, when I drove a truck over-the-road, I was on my way to Milwaukee to pick up a load of frame rails headed for Kenworth in Seattle, WA. These rails make up the beams that support the under-carriage of trucks, the truck frame. I was “east bound and down” just after the I-90/I-94 split and just west of Oakdale when I was passed by 7 rigs that made it look like I was sitting still.
We were approaching an east-bound on ramp when I see a “Smokey” light up and come barreling down the ramp. My first thought was “Those guys are in for it now!” I wasn’t speeding, but I backed off the accelerator and settled back to watch the show. Imagine my surprise when the “Bear” moved over into the left lane, dropped back and pulled me over. That’s right, he pulled ME over? “What about the other guys I thought?” Anyway, I pulled my rig onto the shoulder of the road and turned the flashers on. “Smokey parks behind me and gets out holding his ticket book with a scowl on his face. I’m thinking, “While you’re here harassing me, the other guys are getting away!” “License, registration and log book please,” he said as he got to my cab. I’ve got no problem, I hadn’t broken the law and hey, you’re letting them get away, I thought.
Long story short he asks, “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?” I told him I knew exactly how fast I’d been going which didn’t seem to sit well with him. “Seventy-two miles an hour,” he sneers. I tried to explain that I was doing 55 when he pulled me over and, by the way, those other trucks went around me like I was sitting still. “Yeah? But I caught you!” I could tell I’d already lost this argument. But then he gave me a glimmer of hope, I could pay the ticket now, $275 dollars, thank you very much, or you can go to court in three weeks at Tomah. I say a glimmer of hope because I was going to fight this. I’d never had a ticket in the truck and had no intention of starting that day. Three weeks would give me plenty of time to deliver my load and make it home again so I could go to court and fight this injustice! Including this one, I’ve only had three tickets since I learned to drive 52 years ago, and I’ve never fought one in court. When I earned the other two tickets, I did the right thing and paid them. This one I’d fight.
I went to court on the appointed day and heard the words we all long to here in a time and place like that, “Not Guilty!” They’re beautiful words, and honestly I long to hear them again, this time when I’m declared “Not Guilty” before the throne of God. Clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, my Savior, I’ll stand not guilty before God. What a day that will be.
21–22 But now God has shown us a different way to heaven — not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way (though not new, really, for the Scriptures told about it long ago). Now God says he will accept and acquit us — declare us “not guilty” — if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like. 23 Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; 24 yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins. — Romans 3:22–24
You see, God knew that you and I aren’t capable of living the perfection he demands, and so he sent his one and only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.
20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. — Ecclesiastes 7:20
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. — John 3:18
Believe on the name of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and you will be saved; declared “Not Guilty!” before the throne of God. Declared “Not Guilty,” are beautiful words from an all-forgiving Father in heaven.
Today, as you consider God’s Word, as you believe in Christ Jesus, your Savior, your risen Lord, rejoice that you are at peace with God, that you are indeed, a redeemed child of God.
Almighty God and Father, precious Lord and Savior, clothed in the righteousness of Christ our Savior, you declare us “Not Guilty!” Your love for us is so great, you provided a substitute in the body of your one and only Son, Jesus Christ. In stead of casting us aside, instead you provided a way out of our sinful darkness into your heavenly light. Although we do not understand the depth of your love, we cling to your promise of declaring us not guilty before your throne. We stand forgiven, brothers in Christ, because of his perfection. Thank you Father for your saving grace; and thank you Jesus for carrying our sins to the cross, to be removed forever, so we can stand forgiven, not guilty, before God. And all believers said, Amen and Amen.
May God bless you richly as you dwell on his word.
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