So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. | Romans 8:1 (NLT)
The Old Bailey is one of the most famous buildings in the English Legal System. Whilst some ‘run-of-the-mill’ crimes pass through its doors, so too do some of the most notorious criminals convicted – or sometimes not! – of some of the most heinous offences.
Court Room 1 is the most infamous of all Court rooms. Imagine appearing in the dock there. And imagine a list of charges as long as your arm against you. To your dismay, the guilty verdict is returned on every single count. Each and every offence.
Your misery is complete when you realise that every single offence carries with it the death penalty.
There you stand: Guilty and condemned.
The only way you can pay for your crime is with your life.
That’s how things were in the ‘Court room of God.’ Our every sinful action deserved death, and we by our sinful nature deserved condemnation.
But God who is rich in mercy sent his own Son to be our substitute, to incur the Father’s wrath and die a sinner’s death in our place.
The pure, spotless Lamb of God became sin – took my charge sheet, crossed out my name and inserted his own – in order that I, the guilty one, could go free.
In my place, condemned he stood.
My guilt, my shame, my condemnation. And yours. Gladly borne as his own.
He would be punished as the guilty one in order that those who place their trust in him alone for salvation could be truly free.
With criminal records in the UK, they become ‘spent’ after a time. That means there is no need to declare their content to prospective employees and the likes. But the passage of time can’t undo a guilty verdict. It can’t remove the condemnation of the Court. For that you need a substitute... a Saviour.
Drink it in for a moment – your darkest, worst sin and every wicked, evil thought, word and deed has been dealt with by Jesus. You are declared not guilty. The guilt has been removed; you are free.
“Just one further question for the witness, Your Honour…” [turns to the witness] “Mr(s) HCC-attendee, do you, therefore, live like a free person?”
May our lives reflect the measure of freedom Christ has won for us at the cross.