Judgment Day, Literally
A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting amongst nearly 60 other people waiting to be heard by a judge. A month prior I had received a ticket for an expired license plate tag. It was one of those things I had put on my calendar to do ahead of the expiration date but it just got thrown on the back burner (and it was only expired by a couple days). I’ll save you my complaints.
Anyway, as the night progressed the judge came out and began to hear each individual and their stories of why they were there.
Want to know what surprised me? Most of my fellow law violators were let off with something less weighty than what I was self-determining for them to owe. If their ticket was for $250, it was often reduced to a $100 fine, or in some cases even pardoned fully!
All except one certain young man, a young man who had been caught for some previous crime unbeknownst to me. This judge had seen him the month before and had sentenced him to 24 hours in jail. This guy apparently had failed to serve his time, which led the judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. So the judge sentenced him to be taken straight to jail.
During this whole time, I couldn’t help but think of our Heavenly Father and the way Paul speaks to us in Romans about His judgment.
Romans 2:5-8 says:
5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.”
Sometimes the wrath of God is met with the presumption that God is unloving. That a good God would not send those he loves to a place of pain and punishment. And yet we know that a good and just God would not force us into anything and cannot let our sin go unpunished. But as the payment for our sin He has offered us the greatest reward and freedom from pain through His one and only Son dying and paying for that sin.
Colossians 1:13-14 says:
13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
We will be judged for all that we have done, and still our Father longs to wrap us in His arms and welcome us into His Eternal Kingdom. Don’t turn from the greatest offer you have been given.
And just so you know, the judge waived my ticket. Another moment of acknowledging God’s grace for my mistakes.