Innocent Until Proven Guilty

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way. – Isaiah 53:6a.

Living in Oklahoma, we hear frequently of the state trial of Terry Nichols for the 1995 bombing of the Murrah building. Nichols recently made an attempt at a plea bargain in which he would plead no contest to the charges in return for escaping the death penalty. The plea bargain was rejected by prosecutors. However, Judge Steven Taylor in a pretrial hearing said that he will stress to the jury that Nichols is to be “presumed innocent.” The judge also indicated that he should especially be presumed innocent in view of his willingness to plead no contest to the charges.

Being used to our criminal justice system in the USA it would only seem fair for God to operate in the same way. If God is fair, we think then He will consider us innocent until proven guilty. However, the flaw in this way of thinking is that we have already been found guilty. I am guilty, you are guilty, we are all guilty of sin, guilty of going our own way. One word stands out and shouts at us all in Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 53:6. That word is “all.” All of us have sinned. Every one of us have sinned and chosen our way instead of God’s way at one point or another. Of course, we do not like this spiritual fact but that does not change the truth of the matter.

Once we arrive at the point of realizing our guilt, we must throw ourselves upon the mercies of our Judge. Is our Judge without mercy? Will our Judge condemn us all without mercy? No, because He is a Judge of mercy and He has made a way for us to escape the penalty that should be ours. Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” But the rest of the verse gives the wonderful news of mercy, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Isaiah 53:6 says we have all gone astray but then tells us that God “has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

The bad news is that we are “all” guilty before God but the Good News is that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

When before the judgment bar of the Almighty it is best to plead guilty and confess (1 John 1:9). The punishment has already been given almost 2000 years ago when the sins of us all were laid on Jesus. What are we to do? Believe (John 3:16) upon our Savior Jesus Christ and receive the free gift of eternal life. Because if we do we will receive a full pardon for our iniquities.

(What to do when you are guilty of sin.)

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