A young woman stood before a judge. She was guilty of breaking the law and the judge had to sentence her. The penalty was so stiff, however, that there was no way she could ever pay it.
Sobbing in repentance, the young woman begged for mercy. The judge knew that her cry for forgiveness was sincere, and he knew she could not pay. So in an unprecedented act, he removed his robe, stepped down from the bench, walked up to the bailiff and paid her fine.
The judgment against her was fair. She deserved to be punished, but there was one thing different about this case: The judge was also her father. He loved her so much that he paid the fine for her.
This tender act of a father for his child illustrates the love and forgiveness shown by God to each of us.
As we stand before the great Judge of the Universe, we are all guilty (Romans 3:23
). We deserve any punishment that we may get, which is, spiritually, the death sentence (Romans 6:23). By God's own standards, we deserve capital punishment.
But this great and righteous Judge is also our heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy. (Ephesians 2:4
So, in effect, the Father's only begotten Son steps up and says, "I will pay their fine for them," offering to take our punishment upon Himself.
"For God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it" (John 3:16-17, NLT).
This act of love and substitution is the most amazing and wonderful act in all the universe and in all of history.
The gift of divine forgiveness and salvation are the greatest gifts in the universe. The "good news" about this grace, or unmerited favor, is the greatest message in the universe.
It is a free gift. Even though the wages of sin is death, "the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23, NLT).
We appropriate this great, free gift when we receive Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as our Savior and Lord.
I am burdened by the many who have not yet heard this good news. That is why "everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ." (Colossians 1:28, NLT).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.