As a Christian, I am thankful for all the things that God has done for me and I am blessed for all the things that He has given to me and as a Christian, I am thankful for the verdict: not guilty. Not guilty is a phrase that relates to a trial of some sort particularly a criminal trial and while I have never committed a felony or a crime, I was indeed a part of a trial that was greater than any Earthly trial.
This trial was for the possession of my soul and while I was guilty of all crimes and should have been help responsible for all my sin, I was found not guilty. The verdict may surprise each and every one of us as I am, due to my fallen state and the sin nature in which I live, as guilty as the worse criminals on Earth, both past and present, including Barabbas, Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and O.J. Simpson, God took on my sins and stood in for me. While I was guilty of all things, God said “let me go in his place.”
When the judge announced the sentence just as Pilate did so long ago and allowed for Christ to be executed for crimes that He did not commit, although the people were happy, an innocent man was executed. He was not just killed but He tortured and mocked and humiliated. Scripture does not speak of it but if we look at it within context of history, we can conclude that Christ was on the cross naked and this was a way to not only shame Christ but to publicly humiliate Him: ”And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?” (Luke 22:63-64).
Unfortunately, there have been innocent men and women to be trialed and sentenced unjustly and convicted of things they were not guilty of. However, never before in the history of any other criminal trial was the creator of all on trial except that day on Cavalry when an innocent man—our creator—was not only sentenced to death but He was put to death for the things that His creation committed. When we look at this from a bigger picture perspective, we are able to see that God took the place for His creation because He knew that we could not pay the price of the debt that we owed not because we are holy but rather, because He loves us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
While our justice system often fails people and their fate, the justice system of Christ never does. The criminal justice system of Christ is one that is not based on money or whether or not you have the right type of lawyer or a team of highly expensive lawyers but upon your heart. Many claim that you have to buy your way into Heaven which is not scripture. God does not say any of us to buy our way into Heaven but rather, tells us that we are saved by grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The fact that an innocent man died for those who are guilty of crimes and deserving of a fate that He was not yet He took it on Himself and endured it until the end is a humbling fact that each of us should cling tight to.
After all, the innocent was not guilty but took on the death penalty for those who were guilty so it’s probably best said that the most refreshing words in all the world to hear, at least for a Christian, is “not guilty”: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”–JOHN 3:16