12/28/12 Jamison about 40
I was clothes shopping, and felt led to try and start a witnessing conversation with a fellow shopper, a man named Jamison. He grew up in one of Chicago’s worst housing projects and now works as a detective with the Chicago Police. He has seen far more than his share of violent crime and its effects on the victims and their loved ones while our broken justice system allows the perpetrators to go free. “There is no justice in this life, I just wish I could fix it” he said. He generally views people as either being good or bad, which causes him to be very confused about the lack of justice in this life and very doubtful that it is even possible to know or understand God. The Baptist church of his childhood had emphasized much about God’s love and provision, which brought a lot of people to church and put a lot of money in the offering plate, but it left him with questions about how a loving God could allow such suffering and injustice. Probably more than most people, Jamison longs for justice, wanting the bad guys to get the punishment they deserve. But what would happen if we were really given the justice we believe we deserve? Would we be rewarded or punished? Are we really the “good guys” we think we are? Compared to the heartless killers he often has to deal with in his line of work, it is easy for Jamison to see himself as good in comparison. But God’s standard of comparison is His law, not other people. When we break His law, we act in rebellion against Him and what we know to be right, for we have all been given a conscience, the knowledge of good and evil. “Isn’t God supposed to forgive?” Jamison asked. “God does forgive, but forgiveness wasn’t cheap” I told him as I explained about the high cost God’s justice requires – his own Son’s blood or the eternal punishment of hell. We can’t afford to trivialize our sin or God’s holiness because when we do we start to think we can pay this price of justice ourselves with good works. We don’t just need forgiveness, we need “justification”. Forgiveness implies that our sins are simply pardoned with no consequences, but God requires a high consequence for justification. An infinitely high price must be paid for His justice to be satisfied because we sin against an infinitely holy God. And that’s exactly the price He paid – “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness…so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:25, 26) Please pray that Jamison will understand not just his need for forgiveness, but also for the justification that only comes through faith in Jesus.