How do you primarily relate to God? Do you primarily view Him as a Judge or as a Father when you pray? He is both, but Christians ought to relate to God more as a Father, rather than a Judge. How do you honestly feel about yourself before God? Do you see yourself more as a son or as something else, especially after you’ve sinned? How do you think about His moral law and the importance of obedience in the Christian life?
Imagine that you have been found guilty of breaking God’s moral law in the cosmic courtroom of the universe. You have been in prison awaiting sentencing. You are summoned to God’s courtroom to receive your sentence. God reads the charges against you, and you know you are guilty of them all. He is just in His accusations and the condemnation you sense coming. You stand before this righteous Judge in your filthy prison garb, feeling the weight of your well-deserved guilt and shame.
But then His one and only Son steps into the courtroom and speaks. He proclaims, “Father, I know that you love this rebel. For that reason I have also chosen to go to earth and live a life under your moral law. You know that I kept it faultlessly. Although I deserve commendation from you, I will take this rebel’s condemnation. Let me suffer Your wrath so that this rebel may go free.”
God speaks from behind the bench, “So be it Son. I find you guilty in this rebel’s place.” Guards come in and strip the Son of His pristine robe of righteousness. Then they lead the Son away to suffer for your crimes.
The Judge looks at you with eyes of love and compassion. “You are not guilty,” He declares, “You may go free!” The gavel falls. “Case closed.” Immediately, a guard comes to you and strips off your dirty prison clothes. The Son’s robe is lifted from the ground and thrown over your shoulders. To say that you are shocked is an understatement. You are in utter awe of the sacrifice of the Son and of His Father.
At that moment, the Judge takes off His judicial robe and hangs it on a rack in the corner. He walks over to you and says, “I heard in that trial that you had a terrible father who’s no longer in your life. You’re an orphan?”
“That’s right,” you respond.
The Judge replies, “Well I would love to adopt you if you’d have me as your Father.”
You are stunned but manage to utter a surprised “Yes Sir! That would be amazing.” He puts His arm around you and walks you out of the courthouse to His house across the street. He lives in a gigantic mansion.
He shows you around the house. You sit down to an enormous feast of the richest foods you’ve ever had. You begin to meet your new family, other adopted brothers and sisters. As you walk through the living room, above the fireplace you notice a list of rules written and mounted over the mantel. To your surprise, you recognize them as very similar if not identical to the Laws of the universe that you had broken, the laws that had almost resulted in your death sentence. Terror begins to creep into your heart.
Trembling, you stop, point, and ask, “What are those?”
Your new adopted Father calmly responds, “Those are the house rules. Anyone in my family needs to obey those rules. They are rules that My Son and I have always lived by, and we want everyone to live by them. Honestly, the more you obey them, the more you will really enjoy living here.”
“But what happens if I break them?” you ask.
Your Father earnestly replies, “Well that’ll make me sad. It’ll hurt you and me. There may be some consequences if you persist in breaking them.”
“Consequences? I thought you said over in the courtroom that the case was closed and that I had been set free. How do these rules fit in with that verdict?!” You ask, puzzled and fearful.
“Oh son,” he responds with love, “I love you and want the best for you. Your obedience to these rules will not only make your life better but will also honor and please me. Conversely, your disobedience will deeply grieve me. But no matter what happens, I'll never disown you. I'll never kick you out of this family. I'll never walk you back across the road to the courthouse. You will never stand trial for any of your crimes again, not even your future crimes. I know you can’t be perfect, but I want you to grow to be more like my Son and me. My Son’s life paid the full debt of all the rules you could ever break. You are truly and forever free. You are truly and fully loved. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Christ called God His Father throughout His life on earth, but on the cross He cried, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Christ was willing to lose His experience of God as His Father, so that we would never have to in Him. Yes, Christians should be serious about obeying God’s moral law to please and honor Him. But we never do it in a way to earn merit. Christ has given us all of His merit, all we need and much more.
Run to God as your Father in prayer. Even when you sin, remember that you are an adopted Son in the house of your loving Father. You will never stand in the courtroom of the universe again and be held condemned for your sins. Hallelujah! What a Savior!