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Rooted in Christ

No Games, Just Grace

The Judge of all the earth calls you to rise.

“Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” (Luke 2:10–11, NKJV) 

His past had come home to roost. After years of philandering, the now elderly man sat in the dock awaiting the verdict. His barrister had done his best but nothing was certain until the jury had rendered its verdict, nothing except the reality that he was indeed guilty of rape as charged. 

The movie had built to a climax. Flashbacks gave the viewers inside knowledge of how it had all unfolded, and it had been just as the woman on the stand had described the event from twenty years earlier. But would she be believed? Was the Crown’s case compelling and unequivocal enough to elicit a guilty verdict? 

It was not. The jury foreman was instructed to answer two questions. One, had they reached a unanimous verdict? Yes. Two, was the verdict guilty or not guilty? Not guilty. The man in dock collapsed in on himself like a giant sinkhole, unable to sustain his weight, his shoulders heaving with sobs of relief. 

The accused and his legal team had played the game well. 

That cannot be the case for you, or for me, or for anyone who stands before the tribunal of the living God. Our sin will find us out. There will be no sighs of relief that we escaped the condemnation due us for our transgressions. Our sin that we tried so hard to hide throughout our lives will be laid bare. And there will be no defense that can be made. We stand guilty, our sin exposed. 

Yet God paints for us another scenario, one where there are no games, only grace. Efforts are not made to hide our sin or sugarcoat our sin. There is no suppression of evidence, no manipulation, no misdirection. Rather, our offenses are brought to the floor, and we cower before them, our eyes cast down in shame. 

The charges are read. The list is long. The prosecutor presses the point. True to his name, he is the accuser. No evidence is necessary before the Judge. Nothing is hidden from His sight. 

The Judge of all the earth calls you to rise. You stand, trembling. His verdict? GULTY! It could be nothing else. He reaches and picks up a little square of black and places it on His head, ready to pronounce sentence. 

Your eye catches movement at the right hand of the Judge. A Man steps forward. His hands and feet and side bear scars. He moves to the dock and asks you to step out. The door closes upon Him. He stands alone. 

The Judges asks Him for any last words before sentencing. The Man simply cries out, “It is finished. I bore his sin. I paid His debt. His sentence is mine.” 

The prosecutor shouts his objection. His case had been proven. 

But the Man in the dock again speaks. “His transgressions have fallen upon Me. By My stripes He is healed.” 

The Judge, satisfied that divine justice had been upheld, looks to the Man and says, “My Son, whom I love,” and then to you, “You are free, my son.” 

No games. Just grace.


Passages to Ponder 

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). 

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). 

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).


For a summary of the Bible's message, see the booklet God’s Good News (Stanley D. Gale, Day One Publications).

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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