Fruits which are forbidden are, by nature, the most attractive. Tobacco is one of those forbidden and appealing fruits, especially for young adolescent males.
Fred and his companions, on the cusp of adulthood and desiring to exercise prerogatives pertaining to that lofty status, obtained a few cigarettes by illicit means. They retreated with their ill-gotten booty to their neighborhood tree house. Settling into their den of iniquity, they lit up and commenced puffing away on the contraband. Before long the smoke emanating from that elevated citadel appeared to be a forest fire in its infancy.
It was that tell tale smoke which alerted Fred’s mother to the prohibited activity in which Fred and friends were gleefully engaged.
Fred soon found himself to be the object of his mother’s displeasure, but she declared that she was not the one to administer justice. That responsibility would fall to Fred’s father, and it would be performed at his earliest convenience.
Fred didn’t have to wait long.
He knew that the time of reckoning had arrived when his father summoned him to a shed adjacent to the family home. Once inside the chamber, the patriarch removed his belt and Fred’s inner voice protested, “I’m really going to get it now!”
Much to Fred’s surprise and relief, his father instructed him to let out a yelp each time that the aforementioned belt would whack an old wooden bench conveniently located inside the shed. Fred enthusiastically complied.
Hearing the ensuing commotion through the screen door, Fred’s mother was satisfied that the necessary punishment had been meted out. And Fred, loyal son that he was, never betrayed his father’s charade.
What Fred experienced was justification.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:23-24 ESV)
“Justification,” as the Apostle Paul used the term, is being convicted of sin and yet, by the grace of God, escaping punishment.
Fred was indicted by his mother’s discovery of his transgression. He was convicted and sentenced by her wrath. However, he was justified by his father’s grace, manifested in his merciful restraint.
Likewise, all of us have been accused and found guilty of our transgressions under the law of Moses. None is innocent of the Law because we all have transgressed in one way or another.
The good news is this: We have been justified by the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. He died in our place. He endured the punishment intended for us. He has excused us from the consequences of our own transgression. All this accrues to those who believe in Christ as Lord. This act of mercy is accomplished through the grace of God the Father.
Contemplate the cross of Christ and give thanks for your justification accomplished through Jesus Christ our Lord.