CRIME AND PUNISHMENT THROUGH JESUS’ EYES

AN OBJECTIVE LOOK AT CRIME AND PUNISHMENT THROUGH JESUS’ EYES

I was watching a movie today which revolved around a team of policemen and the ghosts that were bothering them. The climax of the movie had the policemen embroiled in a life and death battle with the ghosts; and that got me thinking, can you ever kill a ghost?

Unlike James Bond, who famously lived twice; or cats, which have nine lives; we humans can really only ever die once, right? Now, I am not talking about those who had a near death experience. I’m talking about those who have been properly buried and never resurrected. Have you ever seen anyone die twice?

Now let’s extend the discussion a little. Because we can only die once, did you know that in many countries, a criminal cannot be hung twice for the same crime? In the same way that you cannot be made to pay for a fine twice, you cannot be punished for the same crime twice. So to get around this logic sequence and ensure that there are no loopholes to the execution of punishment, many legal systems around the world have added to their death penalty, the clause ‘to be hanged till death’.

And if this is the way things are here on earth, how are things like in Heaven?

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

It’s more of the same, I’m glad to say. Because Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities we can have peace. Because

“…the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:6

“…as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” Romans 6:3

So because of what Jesus has done on the cross, because He bore the consequences and paid the price for our sins, this means that God cannot punish us for our sins ever again. He cannot punish the same sin twice.

There is such simplicity and elegance to the way God does things, isn’t there? God is able to take a problem that really bothers us and, with one stroke of His hand, turn things around so that not only is the problem solved, it is solved comprehensively, for all eternity and with such elegant simplicity that even the most simple among us can get in on it and benefit from His generosity and love.

For make no mistake. Whether you are a prince or a pauper, sin is something that we all worry about. Whether you believe in God or not, whether you call your wrongdoing ‘sin’ or ‘crime’, we all worry that the deeds which we are most ashamed of will one day come full circle and bite us in the rear.

This worry is real and the fear of repercussion is so great, there are those who will go to extreme lengths to atone for sin. And that is why all religions in the world have an atonement system; all except ours.

So that is why I don’t consider our faith in Jesus a religion. You see, classifications group like entities together. And when you consider the classification of religion, it mostly includes belief systems that propose two main concepts;

- do good get good, do bad get bad; and
- you’ve got to do the time for your crime.

But when we consider our reality post Jesus, our reality is this,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Fundamentally, God our Father sees us differently from all the rest of the other ‘gods’. Instead of being hung up about holiness and perfection, He’s really hung up about us. You see, long before Jesus came into the picture, God said,

“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20

“But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” Ezekiel 18:21

Hang on, all a man has to do is turn from his ways and everything will be alright? What about his past sins? Surely they have to be punished? Well,

“None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.” Ezekiel 18:22

Yes, beloved child of God, none of the transgressions shall be remembered. Purely based on the good that he has done after he turned from his old ways, that alone is enough for him to be acquitted of his sin. So there is a ‘reset’ button that you can hit to reestablish your right relationship with God.

Now putting things in modern terms, it means this. Say you killed someone. You got caught and you are sorry about it. If God was the judge, He would sentence you to community service and that would be it. No death penalty. No life imprisonment.

But how can this be? Well, this is how.

“…the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:6

Read that again, slowly.

In God’s court of law, when you are sentenced, it is Jesus who goes and gets punished for you. No ‘if’s, no ‘but’s, no conditions, no limitations. Now, which other religion tells you that?

Furthermore, is there a limit set on how many times you can hit the reset button? No. Is there a time limit beyond which you cannot hit the reset button? No. That means that a murderer on death row, if truly repentant, can be spared from an eternity in hell? By earthly law, he will still pay his price; but in the eyes of our Father, yes, ‘the condemned’ is no longer condemned anymore, for

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

But you’re sitting there thinking, that’s just not fair. Well, it is fair. It is just too. Because

“…the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:6

Let me give you a more thorough translation.

“…the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing] to fall on Him [instead of us].” Isaiah 53:6 [AMP]

But why? Why? Here’s why.

“Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” Ezekiel 18:23

You know, it’s simple really. When you bring your aged grandparent out to the grocery store and you see him fumbling at the cashier’s, struggling to find the right about of change to pay for his purchases, wouldn’t you pay it for him? When your son runs a red because he just got his license and is still struggling to cope with the overwhelming demands of driving, wouldn’t you pay the fine for him? When your daughter, in a moment of folly, drinks too much and runs over your neighbor’s rose garden while trying to turn into your driveway, wouldn’t you make it right with them on her behalf? If your son was sentenced to hang because he killed someone, would you not take his place if you could? Why?

Love.

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

Whereas other ‘gods’ seem to be hung up about only letting the best and the most perfect into their heaven, our Father knows that there’s no such thing as ‘best’ and ‘perfect’ with us.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Yet, because “the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23

Someone needs to pay, and that is why

“…the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing] to fall on Him [instead of us].” Isaiah 53:6 [AMP]

But why would Jesus do that for us? He loves us that much?

Yes, He does.

Now, it’s up to you whether you believe it or not. But it doesn’t change the fact that They love you nonetheless. Jesus’ sacrifice is done. His work is complete. Your salvation has been paid for. The only thing left to do is for you to accept it. And if you will accept it, then the pardon from all your sins and the life more abundant which Jesus came to bring is yours, right now. So if you have never accepted the gift that Jesus came to bring and would like to right now, then say this to Him.

“Jesus, thank You for being my comprehensive solution to all my sins. I don’t quite understand why You would be willing to die in my place and take the wickedness of all my sins, my injustice and my wrongdoing, but I accept that gift of righteousness and more importantly, the love for me that made You do it. Jesus, I know that even though I have made a conscious decision to turn from all my sins, I’m still not perfect and I will fall again. But thank You that by Your blood shed, I now have complete remission of all my sins, past present and future. So I walk now, in newness of life, knowing that I am changed because of You. Amen.”

When God solves problems, He is always thorough and His solution is always elegant. And when it comes to sin, His solution is comprehensively found in Jesus. Come back to the only solution you will ever need and know that because Jesus has been punished on your behalf, God will never ever punish you for your sins.

Like our messages?

Sign up to get our messages delivered daily.

Social Media Policy Privacy Policy Disclaimer Terms of Use