The other day I happened upon an episode of the popular police drama, Law & Order. This particular episode was about an elderly lady who, as it turned out, was guilty of murdering her last 5 husbands. Finally incarcerated, the woman is examined by a shrink who concludes that there must be something wrong with the woman physiologically. After a battery of tests the doctors conclude that the woman is riddled with cancer. The prognosis: she has 4-5 months to live – tops. One of the detectives on the show then solemnly concludes, “God gave her the death sentence.” As soon as I heard “God” mentioned, I perked up. “Oh”, I said to my wife, “they speak of God on this show?” For the Christian, the character’s comments about God deserve deeper reflection.
When the detective mentioned “God” we all have an idea of what she meant: a rational, just being, who metes out due penalty in due time. Congruent with this is the detective’s declaration about God handing out the death sentence to a murderer. But wait just a moment here. That police detective who made the comment is also destined to die. So are all her friends and colleagues. In fact, 100 years from now none of the cast on that program will be around. The question that begs to be asked is this: If God exists and metes out the death penalty to the guilty, why is it that we all die? Most of us aren’t guilty of heinous crimes like murder. Why are we destined to die also? The Bible has the answer.
According to the Bible, the original creation was very unlike the world we live in today. It was a very good world in which there was no suffering, death or bloodshed. Our first human parents destroyed this original perfection however, by willfully rebelling against our wise and good Creator. This rebellion resulted in the acquisition of a sin nature. By a sovereign and just decree of God our parents received the death penalty as well. As a result, all of their offspring, including all of us, are born sinners deserving of the same judgment.
The good news is that while God is unbending in His justice, He is equally loving and merciful. He saw to it that due punishment for our sins was meted out upon His beloved Son Jesus. Today we have a choice. We can accept what Jesus has done for us and receive His gift of salvation, or, we can ignore our guilt and the need to have our sins paid for. If you are contemplating the latter as an option, recall the fictitious detective’s very accurate assessment of God. He is indeed a righteous judge, who does indeed mete out the death sentence to those who transgress His wise laws. Now that’s real law and order.
By John Feakes