Mysteries and detective stories have always intrigued me since childhood when I read every Nancy Drew (and yes, even Hardy Boys) book I could lay my hands on. Recently I’ve watched a few reruns of Perry Mason, where the suspense of the courtroom pervades. There’s always the all-powerful judge. And the heartless prosecutor and the very wise defense attorney. I don’t remember seeing a jury in these scenes, but that would be unnecessary because the case is always thrown out as soon as the real criminal is revealed. And the innocent accused goes free.
How is this like God’s courtroom where He presides as judge of all mankind? There He is, the absolutely just—and yet compassionate—judge. There is Satan, the heartless and vicious prosecutor. There is Jesus—my attorney, my defender. No jury needed. And there I am, already convicted, no contest. I am guilty and everyone knows it (Romans 3:23). All that remains is the sentencing. Satan pushes for the death sentence, which is what I really deserve (Romans 6:23). But my Defense Attorney rises, shows His hands and feet, and declares that the death sentence has already been executed. The righteous Judge then grants me a full pardon and I am free!
Then what do I do? Go my merry way and return to the behavior that got me into trouble in the first place? No way! Instead, like the blind man that Jesus healed, I get up and follow Him! (Luke 18:43) My life is no longer mine. Jesus has bought it with his own blood, and now I am His!
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)