Once again we have a series of rhetorical questions. And in this case, Paul wants us to imagine a courtroom setting.
Of course, according to Scripture, it’s not really an issue of us being found guilty sometime in the future. According to John’s Gospel, everyone who hasn’t believed in Jesus is condemned already. I know I’m guilty, Satan (the Prosecutor) knows I’m guilty, the Judge knows I’m guilty, and even my own Defense Attorney knows I’m guilty.
But then there’s a hitch. The Prosecutor keeps hurling accusations against me, and the Judge keeps saying “Not guilty.” He can accuse me of whatever he wants, he can throw everything—including the kitchen sink—against me, and none of it will stick. Why?
Because the moment I received Christ, the Judge declared me “Not guilty” since my sins have already been punished. There’s no Double Jeopardy in his courtroom. Even better than “Not Guilty,” he’s declared me to have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.
And if God, the Judge over everything seen and unseen, has declared me not only not guilty but completely righteous, then who’s going to successfully bring an accusation against me? The Accuser is never going to get a hearing. The only One who’s qualified to judge me has declared himself to be my adopted Father. So good luck with that. In any other context, the Prosecuting Attorney would immediately hold a press conference claiming “The fix was in! I lost this case before I ever walked into the courthouse!!!”
The remainder of vs. 34 gives four reasons why I can never ever ever be condemned in God’s courtroom (the only one that matters):
1) My Savior died in my place. He was pierced for my transgressions, he was crushed for my iniquities; the punishment that brought me peace was on him, and by his wounds I am healed. I was just like a sheep, having gone astray; just like everyone else, I turned to my own way; and the Lord laid on him my iniquity, my sin, and my transgressions.
2) He then rose from the dead. According to Paul in another passage, he was raised to life “for” my justification. The word could also be translated as “because of,” which is how the NASB renders it, and I actually like it better. The word could go either way, and commentators disagree on how to translate/interpret it. But this is the explanation that makes the most sense to me: From MacArthur, “The resurrection provided proof that God had accepted the sacrifice of His Son and would be able to be just and yet justify the ungodly.”
3) He ascended to the right hand of the Father. My Savior passed through the Heavens, walked through the ultimate hero’s welcome, and sat down at the right hand of God. He’s at the place of ultimate authority, second only to the Father himself. This puts the final “stamp of approval” from the Father regarding his work.
4) And finally Paul explicitly assures us that this same Jesus--who died, rose again, and ascended on high—is now pleading on our behalf. He’s the One who intercedes for us. The same One who’s sitting at the right hand of God the Father. If I tried to walk up to the main gate at the White House and tried to get the guard to let me in to talk with the President, you can guess how much luck I'd have. But if I knew the President’s child on a personal basis, I’d be in.
This is so important. Remember, this passage is at the end of an entire chapter dedicated to calming our fears and removing our doubts. When the Accuser comes to you and whispers in your ear, direct him back to your Father. He knows how to deal with this.
Lord Jesus, thank you so much for what you did and am doing for me. But the best is yet to come, isn’t it? Can’t wait.
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