About the author: Misty Soderstrom and her husband Stan have been members at ZPC for almost 20 years! They have two adult children who are both married - one daughter and one son. Misty has served as a ZPC deacon, sings in the choir, and currently coordinates ZPC's Inquirers Classes.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
Redemption | 2 Corinthians 5:10
For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
A few days ago I served on a jury. It was my fourth time to be chosen, and I’m always glad that I’m not the one on trial before the judge. Our justice system is about determining guilt (or innocence) and dispensing appropriate punishments. We use judges, juries, and lawyers to try and arrive at just verdicts or judgements.
God’s justice doesn't involve juries, lawyers, or any human element. It is intrinsic to who he is — God is just. God also is love, and because of his love for us, he sent his son to take the punishment for our guilt. Jesus is sinless and blameless— the perfect Lamb of God sacrificed for us. Jesus redeemed our lives by giving his own in our place. Redemption is possible because Jesus took our punishment.
Our scripture for today says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he’s done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Just as the person was standing trial in the case for which I recently served, each of us will stand in judgement. However, we will not have a jury of our peers. We will stand before a holy God.
If you're like me, the thought of having every deed judged makes you uncomfortable. Our broken selves and our broken world get in the way of always choosing good over evil. Before a human jury we can try to make a case for ourselves, but how can we even begin to make a case before God – blameless, just, and the holiest of holies?
God knew that in our human-ness we would fail him. And he sent His Son Jesus to humbly bare our guilt and allow us to be acquitted on every charge.
The Christmas season can be very difficult when we are experiencing strained relationships. Ask yourself if you are in the position of judge, jury, or executioner over someone in your life. Are you holding someone in the prison of your unmet expectations? Maybe someone has unfairly judged you.
Ask God to open your eyes to all the ways he has redeemed your life. Pray that he will show you any areas where you are not living out your redemption. Choose to forgive and release those who have hurt you (or hurt your loved ones). Praise God for what he has done and is doing to bring reconciliation in your relationships.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for taking my sin and giving me your right standing before God. Thank you that I need not fear your judgement seat because you have redeemed my life. Lord, help me to live a life that is pleasing to you. Help me to bring honor and glory to you, Lord God Almighty.
Shine your healing light on any areas of darkness in me and the relationships in which you have placed me. Help me to be an instrument of your peace and love. Show me all that you would have me do to live into the redemption that I have in Christ Jesus. Continue to strengthen me and encourage me in your ways so that I will not slip into unloving habits. May your kingdom come and your will be done.
In Jesus name,