Everyone likes a just and good verdict. Probably one of the most controversial court cases in my lifetime was the OJ Simpson trial. People are very divided over whether that was a good verdict or not. He was found not guilty.
There’s another verdict though that is much more important to you personally. It’s God’s verdict. When you go through a trial you have to wait for the jury to announce its decision and then you even have to wait for the judge if you are guilty to sentence you. God doesn’t want his verdict hanging over your head as a big question mark. He wants you to know right now what it is. And he’s revealed that verdict to you in Romans chapter 4 verse 25. It says:
He was handed over to death because of our trespasses and was raised to life because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
God’s verdict has been announced to the world. That verdict is not guilty. Romans 4, as I read, tells us that he, Jesus, was handed over to death for our trespasses. Because we have sinned God made Jesus suffer and die in our place. And Jesus has offered sufficient payment to atone for our sins. So that no matter what we’ve done wrong it’s paid for.
Maybe you can think of some pretty bad things that you’ve done. Maybe there’s some sins that still trouble you and plague you. Even those sins have been fully paid for. And so that you can know that is true, God raised Jesus from the dead. It says he was raised again because of our justification. Because Jesus offered sufficient payment, God raised Him from the dead. That was so that you could know that it’s true.
That word ‘justification’ means to be declared righteous or declared not guilty. When God raised Jesus from the dead he was telling you the verdict. That you are not guilty. That’s why Easter is such an important celebration for the Christian church. It’s God’s declaration that the world’s sins are forgiven. That we are not guilty in Christ.
And so when your conscience plagues you. When you remember those terrible things you’ve done, draw to mind Jesus’ resurrection. That is God declaring to you that you were forgiven, that you are not guilty in his eyes, because of Jesus. Then live your life in the peace that Jesus resurrection gives. Amen.