What should be done when public officials break the law? Consider the mayor of one American city caught accepting a $5,000 bribe in exchange for promising government work contracts. Because the transaction was secretly videotaped, his guilt in court was beyond question. But what should be the sentence? The mayor’s lawyer argued for leniency. “He’s done good in his life,” the defense attorney said. “All of that must be weighed against what is undoubtedly a serious offense.” The lawyer’s opinion is not unique. Most people in the world believe the same standard should be applied to their behavior, especially when it comes to what the Bible calls sin. “All unrighteousness is sin,” says God (1 Jn. 5:17). However, while most of us would admit our guilt, we often bring up the good we’ve tried to do in our lives as well. Caring for family members, giving to charities, or serving the community are some good deeds frequently mentioned.
In the mayor’s case, though, there was another opinion still to be presented – the judge’s. In a courtroom filled with the mayor’s friends, the judge’s acknowledged the mayor’s many accomplishments. “But,” she declared, “that does not erase the actions that were taken here.”
How solemn! Despite his many good deeds, the mayor’s guilt could not be erased. The verdict – guilty, with a prison sentence and a fine.
But God can do something the judge could not do. While God consistently applies His holy standard and no sin is overlooked, He is merciful to those who repent of their sins and rely by faith on Christ’s death and resurrection as payment for their guilt.
Don’t depend on the good you’ve done – it’s not enough! But the blood of Jesus Christ is. It “cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). Have you had your sins washed away? We can tell you how.
By Stephen Campbell
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org