Real-Life Court Trials!
The major news agencies this past week have focused on two major court trials in our nation: one in Georgia and the other in Wisconsin. Both trials involve charges of murder. Both prosecution and defense counsel in these trials have received extreme critique from the media and depending on your choice of news coverage, may have both defendants convicted while others call for their acquittal. Obviously, the media has already concluded their respective decisions even before the trials conclude!
Additionally, in both Wisconsin and Georgia, protestors remain poised to react to the announced verdict. In both states, a “no-win” situation is predicted in terms of civil unrest when the juries declare their decision; and in Wisconsin, the judge has reserved the right to overturn the verdict with a “mistrial declaration” if he so decides. If for no other reason than the drama involved, these matters captivate the attention of the public. Neither is like Matlock or Perry Mason and certainly not Judge Judy: these are real-life trials that require more than an hour!
They are interesting. Those watching do fashion their own decisions based on the material they see and hear. But none of us are jurists in these matters. Neither are we lawyers, clerks and certainly, we are not judges! We are merely observers, fascinated by events that are uncommon to most citizens. Again, this is real life! Yet, these cannot compare to the ultimate judgment!
Paul states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Further, we know Jesus Christ is the Judge (John 5:22; Acts 17:31). There is no “jury.” There are no “lawyers.” We go individually to judgment, and individually give account for our deeds. (Matthew 25: 31 – 46) There will be no deliberations. There will be no appeals. The media cannot influence the verdict in either direction. The Judge will make no mistakes. The verdict is eternal! (ibid.)
In most court trials within our country, the lawyers are the only ones not sworn to tell the truth! What a dangerous reality. In watching either of these present trials, lawyers challenge statements of truth with the proclamation, “Objection!” The judge then rules on the objection and determines its validity. Even then, objections might be “taken under advisement” and settled later in the trial. This is not so on the final judgment day! Since it is impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), God is completely truthful. And since He knows our hearts (Hebrews 4:13), He knows how much truth we proclaim regarding our words and deeds! Thus, only truth speaks in the judgment day and the verdict is final!
Questions flood inquiring minds regarding these earthly cases. Why did a seventeen-year-old think himself able to protect property and defend innocents in a city already gripped by rioters? Why did a man minimally trained in police tactics take an investigative matter into his own unprofessional hands? It is a fantastic relief to know we are not responsible for making any decision in either matter!
As Christians, we preface our decisions of where we should go, what we should do, what we should say, how should we act with “If the Lord will.” (James 4:15) We recognize we must “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9b) Therefore, the restriction of “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11) is a requirement we heed with diligence. We avoid any semblance of guilt when we avoid the company of sinful practices! However, too many souls attempt “justification” for their fellowship of/participation in the unfruitful works of darkness. “It is not that wrong,” is the feeble excuse: the skin of reason stretched over a lie! God knows every detail including any perceived “reason” for our actions. He needs no “video confirmation,” no character witnesses, no collaboration, no “exculpatory evidence,” and with Him there is no “reasonable doubt” for our actions, either good or bad! He knows exactly and judges exactly!
Heaven is much too grand to miss, and Hell much too eternal to endure. While there is a tendency to think we can “throw ourselves on the mercy of the court,” knowing God is merciful, we cannot expect God to compromise His directives regarding the right and wrong of our lives! Jesus, His only begotten Son, left us an example of how to live and move and have our being before Him (1 Peter 2:21 – 24). If we err from this pattern, we have only ourselves to blame! Granted, we will sin. When we do, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). But He will not advocate for our wickedness: He advocates for our forgiveness once we admit our sin and beg for forgiveness! (1 John 2:1-6) [Note: this applies only to Christians. Those who are NOT Christians must first become Christians by obeying the gospel of Christ Jesus: i.e., hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, being immersed.]
Make no mistake: we are ALL going to judgment! For those of us who endeavor to live as God commands, judgment poses no fear, but instead, a longing, knowing the promise of God (Revelation 2:10). For those not prepared, it does pose a frightening reality of which to can change the verdict – but they must do so now as opportunity is present (2 Corinthians 6:2).