“Guilty as Charged” (pt. 2 of 2)

Psalm 50 is pictured somewhat like a modern-day courtroom scene, where God is the Judge, District Attorney, Juror, and the key Witness against His people.  In this psalm, God judges His people, He witnesses against them, and He calls them back to Him.  Last week, we began looking at this judicial scene, observing the Judge (God) entering His courtroom in all His glory (vv. 1-6) and also the testimony of the key Witness against Israel (God, vv. 7-15).  Continuing this scene, notice the following:

The jury has returned a verdict (vv. 16-21).  Israel knows the verdict before it is even announced.  They had hated instruction and cast God’s words “behind” them (v. 17); they had consented with thieves and partaken with adulterers (v. 18); they had given their mouths to evil and framed deceit with their tongues (v. 19); they had spoken evil against and slandered their brethren (v. 20); and, perhaps worst of all, they had considered God to be one like unto themselves (v. 21).  Now, for all these things, the verdict is returned—GUILTY AS CHARGED.  In our present day and age, we are no different; we are all guilty.  Paul wrote, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10), and, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23).  As we stand in our imaginary courtroom, our verdict comes back exactly the same as that of Israel—GUILTY.

The sentence is announced (vv. 22-23).  The defense, God’s people, really has no defense at all; they are guilty as charged.  The Judge now announces His sentence—a choice—death or “plea-bargain.”  God says those who forget Him will be torn in pieces, and there will be none to deliver (v. 22).  However, He offers a “plea-bargain,” stating that those who offer praise to Him and conduct their lives as He would have them to do will be saved.  It is no different today; God offers eternal salvation to all those who obey Jesus (Heb. 5:9).  Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (24:15), and Jesus stated, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other…” (Matt. 6:24).  “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), so all mankind, being judged guilty of sin (Rom. 3:23), stands condemned to die an eternal death.  But, thankfully, Romans 6:23 does not end with the previously-quoted statement, for it continues, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  So, the choice, as sinners condemned to die eternally, is ours—life or death.  Our situation is very much like that of ancient Israel, when Moses told them in his parting address, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deu. 30:19).  Who would be so foolish not to take advantage of God’s offer of a “plea bargain” through the blood of His Son?

Psalm 50 paints an interesting picture indeed, one that had colorful imagery for the Jews in the time it was written, but also containing a vivid portrait for our time.  Dear reader, rest assured that you will have your “day in court,” but know that if you are of an accountable age, your death sentence has already been decided.  And, when reaching that great “courtroom” on the day of judgment, it will then be too late to “plea bargain.”  So, take advantage of God’s offer now, and be sure to “settle your case out of court.”  He has given His Son to suffer your punishment for you, so that you might live eternally with Him in heaven.  The conditions of God’s “plea bargain” are simple—believe in His Son as the Savior of the world and God in the flesh (Jn. 3:16; 8:24), repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), confess the name of Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:37), and be baptized into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27).  Read Isaiah 53, and be moved by the love of Jehovah, Who loved YOU so much that He sent His sinless Son to die in YOUR place, just so YOU could escape the fate YOU truly deserve.  If you obey Him and live faithfully until death, YOU can be made eternally free (cf. Jn. 8:32) and enjoy a heavenly home, free from anymore “courtroom scenes,” for it is only in heaven that, for all eternity, “the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10b).  Life is as a vapor (Jam. 4:14), and no man knows of the great “day in court” (i.e., the judgment, cf. Matt. 24:36), so “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2, emp. added).  As the old gospel hymn so succinctly states, “What will you do with Jesus?”

[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]

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