I don’t care who you are or what you are supposed to have done—hearing your name called for court chills the bones.
If you have ever had a second chance—in our world, it is being on probation—you know you are careful to report. Careful to go to Alcoholics Anonymous or sexual addictions groups or anger management, perform service, or catch up on child support. You are trying. You work hard to change habits, change your environment, and change your friends. You exchanged the drama for more stability.
- What hasn’t been done?
- What else do I need to do?
- Whom can I talk to?
- Who can say a good word on my behalf?
Everyone has a case at the bar with the great, all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful, and forgiving most high God. Your case may be reviewed at any moment, because the judgment is now. Truly, if something happens to you, your case has been called. And of all of the people who have ever lived, the cases being called first are for the individuals who profess to love and follow Christ
(1 Peter 4:17). When He comes to gather His people, He will give them their reward: both the eligibility to be saved, and actually joining Him in eternity. But His judgment is being determined now, before He gets here.
So back to the soul searching, and the first thing you whisper desperately is “What does it look like?”
You’ve accepted the gift of Christ’s death on the cross in your place. That penalty was borne by the One, the only One, who could bear it, and bear it once and for all for everyone. “With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
You also recognize that the One who paid the price is also the high priest, your mediator, standing before the court of the universe, pleading, leveraging, and mediating for you, using the very blood He shed, the very blood that was required for the laws we broke.
As solemn as your case may be, this development has advantaged you infinitely: the ongoing negotiations on your behalf by the One who paid the price takes place with His Father, who happens to be the all-knowing, all-powerful, most high God. The most high God who sent Him to pay your penalty.
Our cases, with all their torrid details, are about to be expunged. Blotted out, as if nothing ever happened. The universal gallery looks on as once again Jesus, the Master, is about to win another case—yours, mine.
But wait, what’s this? Up comes a hidden file on the hard drive of the sinful mind. In it are the secret things, the private ugly we reserve for special occasions. The go-to when we need to get out of a jam, or the ace-in-the-hole when we just want to make ourselves feel better. It’s the reflexive, impulsive evil that works automatically, almost unconsciously, in us. That file could jeopardize this case—the blotting out, the eternal life with Him, the whole thing.
This is a solemn development indeed. In consulting with the One, we held this information back. We did not think it would matter. We did not think anyone would know about it. We did not think even He, as masterful as He is, could handle it before the courts of heaven. Now the other side sees a crack in his hopeless case against us. He seeks to exploit that weakness—our unwillingness to entrust the surety of the victory. “All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time.”1
This can be fixed, if you are willing. By faith you can be (Philippians 2:13). Even if you are not yet, but are just willing to be made willing.2 He can fix it and you. Hand Him the file now. Trust Him. Live right. Watch Him do His thing.
1Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911) p. 488.
2See Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 482.