There is a popular story about the courtroom of heaven. It’s a speculation of what the Day of Judgment will look like when we stand before God to be judged. I’m sure you’ve heard it as it’s been widely populated in the church.
The story goes that when you stand before the God at the end of your life and the day He judges humanity, we enter into the great white throne-room. We stand before God, and then Satan, our accuser, comes to the stand and begins to make His claims over us, because of our sin. At this point where things aren’t looking to good, Jesus suddenly enters into the scene and becomes our defendant, like a lawyer. Stating that now we are His because He died for us. Then we are judged rightly.
This is not a correct view. I love the heart behind it, but I believe this to be a poor misunderstanding of Jesus and the Great White Throne of Judgment.
This is how I more see it going down. This is how I see it in a legal sense. From Justification to Redemption to the Judgment. In story form, of course…
I’m in trouble. Big trouble. I’ve done something bad. Actually, I have a lot of bad things. An offense almost every day. Some I didn’t even know I was doing. I do now. I’ve been caught. No, it didn’t happen like you’d think. No, big Hollywood chase, no breaking in by the FBI, in fact the government wasn’t even involved. No, one caught me. Well, sort of. I caught myself in a sense. I’ve known I’ve done wrong. But I wasn’t like Tommy (fictional name), my neighbor. I’m a fairly decent person. But I was suppressing my wrongs. I didn’t want to face them. I didn’t want to take responsibility for my actions. But now I know. I’ve had a revelation. Came out of nowhere. Something came on me, I everything I’ve hidden from the recess of my own mind; every action I did that was wrong was like a weight before me. I knew there was a God. And that God wasn’t going to just let me slip by. I see now, I see my chains. I see my cell. I’m in prison. And I’m on death row.
Just when I didn’t know what to do. I knew I needed a savior. Someone to save me from the death that daily clings to me. Someone to save me from death row. It’s imminent. I can see that now.
Then He was there. I had another Revelation. This man revealed Himself to me. He gave me an offer. An offer of salvation. He gave me a deal.
I read the document. Read every detail. I looked for the fine print. There was none. It seemed to easy. What did it say? It stated that this man, the one who was giving the offer, would die in my place. His death for mine. The clincher? He died two thousand years ago. Died on a cross. Must have been painful. Long hours. Seems painful to go that way. Long suffering, that’s what that death is. It states that this man however, was innocent. He never did anything bad, He was the opposite of me. Then it said something peculiar. Says three days after He died, He resurrected. Came back to life. Here was the bargain. This man, His name was Jesus Christ. All I have to do is believe. Believe that He died, two thousand years ago that is. Believe that He resurrected (there was proof to, a lot of eye witness accounts). Believe that this man, Jesus, was a man (Jewish at that) and God. I had to trust that His death and resurrection was enough for me. That His blood that was spilled would cover my sins. And that His resurrection sealed the deal forever. I had to believe. There wasn’t no place to sign. I had to just proclaim orally that I believed this man was and would and will be my savior. That was all I needed. It, also, stated that once the deal was sealed He couldn’t retract the offer. I was to then put a conscience effort in putting my actions where my mouth is. To turn from doing the things that got me my death sentence. To stop sinning. Also, stated that if I did mess up again, all I had to do to was confess and ask for forgiveness. Then those sins would be under the same covering of the contract. Seemed to good to be true. But it was true. I wasn’t being pardoned. I was getting something better. I was being the offer of “immunity”. And I didn’t even have to rat somebody else out. Just confess I was guilty and believe in this man Jesus.
I took the offer of immunity. I believed. I proclaimed. I am now Justified and am awaiting the fullness of my Justification. The man, Jesus, then opened a book and put my name in it. Once He did, something changed. Something came inside me. Later, I came to know it wasn’t a thing, but a someone. The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Holiness, or commonly known as The Holy Spirit. Became my best friend. Helped me a lot. Comforted me a lot. He was the seal, the signet, the sign of the deal I had made. I didn’t see Jesus, but we talked alot. He became my closest friend. I soon saw I was starting to quickly and slowly become like Him. Just like friends do. Know someone long enough and you begin to become like them. He loved me. He would be faithful to the contract. He was the strong one. I was the weak one. I still messed up…alot. But He always forgave me. Through Him, I, also, got to know His Father. It was like I had been adopted into a family. Actually, I had been adopted into a Family, the Family of God. And I had a whole mess of brothers and sisters. Yet, I knew something. Every time I thought about it I trembled. They could never disown me. He could never break the contract. He could never remove my immunity. But I could. I could disown them. I could tear up the contract. I could refuse the immunity. Only I could do this.
The Big Day
Well, I lived my life to the fullest. I lived as close as I could to God. Now I’ve left that life behind. That age behind. And now I’m in a wonderful place waiting for my big trial day. We all have our trials on the same day. The righteous and the wicked. There’s a special courtroom being reserved for that day. It’s big and white. Big enough to judge every person who ever lived. And that day is today. Today I go before my Judge.
I walked trembling into the courtroom of heaven. It didn’t look like a normal courtroom. In fact, it was a throne room. This was not the western justice court. No this was a court room like kings of old. But no king had ever had one like it. Before me was a great throne, and it was covered in Glory like pure white light. I realized the pure white light was from the being who sat upon the throne, the King. Never before had I been in the presence of such a powerful being. Trembling with fear I approached the throne cautiously. Eagerly gazing into the center of the light. Trying to see the face the of my judge. Then I saw it. I saw Him. Everything changed. Fear left; overwhelmed by joy and delight. Fear doused by unceasing waves of love. My Judge was my best friend. My Judge was my savior. My Judge was the one who gave me immunity from my sin. The One who was the propitiation for my sin. My Judge was the King. My Judge was God. The God-man. Had I known that the one who had given me the offer of immunity, I would of laughed at the irony. He was no lawyer. He was and is the Judge. My Judge took the death sentence for me. My merciful Judge. The irony…My Judge saved me from Himself. He gave me mercy so that I didn’t have to face His wrath. And He did it by paying the price for me through His blood. How could I be afraid? How could I fear?
I know ran boldly to Him! I ran to my closest friend. I instantly saw the delight on His face! He knew me! He was overjoyed!
I looked for my accuser and saw there was none. Satan was not there to condemn me. Why? For He was imprisoned in a Lake of Fire. There were no accuser. There was no defender. There was only God. All three. There was no trial of whether I was guilty or innocent. Why? My Judge knew me already. It was obvious to all who saw. The Holy Spirit was inside me as my seal of my contract. I looked like Him! I looked like my Judge! My King! My Lord! My Beloved!
Yet, My Judge spoke. “Well, done my good and faithful servant!”
I was overjoyed!
My trial was more like a hearing. A hearing of His delight over my life. A hearing of Him telling me my reward. There was no condemnation. There was no judgment of wrath upon me. There was no him telling me of my sins. My sins had been covered by the blood of Jesus. Even the ones I did not know I did. The unintentional sins had even been washed away by His grace. Why? For by the Spirit of Holiness in the past age of darkness, did He reveal to me what needed to be confessed through conviction. However, there was a moment of sorrow. Sorrow deeper then I’ve ever known. He showed me something. Something that cut to the depths of my heart. He showed me in the past age when I missed Him. When He came looking, when He was waiting, when He was longing for me and I chose not to seek Him. He showed me the times I wasted my time on lesser things. He showed me lost opportunities in that age to be with Him. When I could have drawn closer. On this side of time, those brief moments lost…minutes, hours, days, weeks…seemed invaluable now. I knew time in that age, lost or gained, payed off bigger in this age. I had lost precious moments that I could have drawn even closer to Him.
But, the sorrow lasted but a moment, though it had seemed longer than the life I lived. I saw His face. I saw His delight. I saw He was overjoyed I was here now. I was then hit by a wight of revelation. Though I had lost time then, it was not all lost. I could still gain the fullness of my inheritance. I had the fullness of my inheritance. It was Him. And I had eternity to pursue Him. No more condemnation, no more tears of pain, no more sorrow. Only eternal bliss of being in His presence every waking moment, and the sun never sets. Sure it would take longer than it would have in my short life in the previous age. But here on earth I had eternity with Him. Perfect love casts out fear. And I now dwell with perfect Love for eternity.
I will dwell with my Judge, my friend, who judged righteously on my behalf. I will dwell for eternity in His kingdom every second moving from Glory to Glory with revelation of who He is. This is my Justification. This is my sanctification. To not taste the eternal sting of death, but of life and in that life to know Him. This is eternal ecstasy.
The offer of immunity, the deal of salvation, and the process of justification was really easy. Believe Jesus Christ was God and the only way was through Him and then become like Him through fellowship. It had its moments of difficulty and hardship. But it was worth it. Daily I am thankful that I chose Him, well rather He chose me. Why? Cause I know it would have been a very different story had I refused Him. He does not only judge the just, but also the unjust. Who are the unjust? Those who refuse the Just one Jesus Christ. Those who refuse His offer. Those who choose to take the price themselves. The price of the wrath of God. HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!!
(This story is not based on an encounter. In some ways its fiction. Yet, it is true. Soon to come…THE BIBLICAL BACKING FOR THIS STORY)
As everyone knows, Jesus Christ was killed. He died on a cross as sentenced by the Roman Empire. He was the only true innocent man killed. So, is Jesus the only true innocent victim? No. Not I, not you, not Jesus was an innocent victim. He was the innocent sacrifice.
Was Jesus murdered by angry mob? Was Jesus sentenced to death falsely by a Roman? Was Jesus killed by God?
Yes, historically all these happened. But they were only the external circumstances that brought forth Jesus’s crucifixion.
No. Why? Because, Jesus died of His own free will. He was not a victim of a mob, a Roman, God. He willingly chose to die. To die as as an innocent man for all those who are not innocent, unrighteous, and who have unclean hands. He died for us. We, all mankind, all who have sinned, all who have been unjust killed Him. He was the sacrifice of atonement for our sin. The sacrifice of the Just for the unjust. Through Him, the unjust with unclean hands are made just. Through the innocent man, we are made innocent.
Yet, this man did not stay dead. He was resurrected. He lives today. He is the only man to defeat death. He now has power of death (Revelation 1:18). He is now the innocent Judge. The right Judge. The Judge who can’t and will never die again.
None of us are innocent. We all have wronged someone. We all have lied. Yet there is one who is innocent. There is one being who has never done wrong. Who is this? He calls Himself, “The I Am”. What name is this? I am…what? It is the name of the one who was never born, the one who created all things, the one being above every other. We refer to Him as “God”.
1 John 1:5 describes who God is, “…God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” In Romans 1, Paul makes the case that who God is has been shown to man through His creation, and that we have rebelled against who God is. Therefore, God gave us over to debased minds. He let us become the opposite of who He is. What is it He gave us over to? Sin and the actions of it, injustice. In Romans 3:5, Paul further states, “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say”. God is righteous. God is light.
When you walk into a room full of light, where is the darkness? Is it hiding in the corner? No. Darkness and light cannot intermingle. Light always overcomes darkness. In the same way, God is all completely righteous. Who He is, is who He is. He is not a being of mixture. In Him, there is not righteousness and unrighteousness, only righteousness. Righteousness at it’s root means right. Therefore, someone who is righteous is in the right. Someone who is always righteous and never unrighteous, means they are always right and never wrong. Therefore, God is of right standing all the time. God is the innocent one. But how does this relate to our no ordinary radical?
The no ordinary radical, Jesus, in Mark 14:61-62 declares who He is. In response to the High Priest’s question if He is the Christ, and Son of the Blessed (14:61), Jesus says, “I am…” (14:62). The same phrase God uses to describe Himself. Here in His own words, God associates Himself as being Christ, the Son of the Blessed (God), and of deity. Therefore, our no ordinary radical is God in flesh, the human form. Jesus is innocent.
Therefore, before God, before Jesus Christ, there is no innocent victim.
People like to talk about other people. We love to gossip. To hear about someone elses interesting life. We all like to proclaim our opinions about someone, especially when that someone is of a controversial status. This is true when it comes to the no ordianry radical, Jesus Christ. Many agree he was a good man, a righteous man, and even a prophet. Gandhi, Muhammad, Dr. Martin Luther King and even Malcolm X all agreed to this assertion about the man Jesus of Nazareth.
Yet, when you want to know about someone. When you want to know the truth. The truth apart from the telephone chain of gossip and hearsay. You seek out witnesses who know the person. You try to find the people with first hand experience and with their own eyes saw the daily events and nature of the one you seek. Even today, when police look for facts about an incident, they don’t go get the story of the cousin of the witness. They get the story and details from the witness’s themselves. So, why when it comes to Jesus do we listen to men who never met Him, never saw Him, and lived millenniums after He did?
And of course, the best way to learn about who someone is, is to talk to those closest to him. Those who had day to day interactions. Then even better, the best way to know someone is by finding out what they said about themselves. Therefore, the best way to know and learn about who Jesus was is to read what His best friends said about Him. And we have 27 books and letters from Jesus’s best friends, and it’s called the Bible. Therefore, at this conjuncture I will from now on be using scripture references in my blog entries.
Of which, my first is from 1 John 1:1 bearing witness that they are witnesses, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life-“
When words like “Justice”, “In-justice”, “Pain”, “Suffering”, and “Victim” are brought up in conversation. Another word is often brought up. One we label everyone with. A word that vindicates the victim in contrast to the oppressor. The word “Innocent”. When it comes to standing up valiantly for the victims of poverty, sexual oppression, the diseased, and all those who are experiencing pain and suffering, right down to employees getting laid off by evil corporations, we love to vindicate the oppressed by labeling them “innocent”. While others claim, there is no innocent victim. Who is right? Who is wrong? Both are right. Both are wrong.
The word “innocent” can be used in two ways. The way most social activist use the word innocent is the derivative “naqi(‘)”. Even more specifically, “dam naqi” or “innocent blood”. The definition of naqi we use generally in relation to the innocent, is (shed blood of an unoffending or innocent party). What does this mean? When someone kills by murder, intentional homocide, or genocide someone who did not offend them previously they are innocent. Therefore, it can be said that the victims of terrorism are innocent. The victims who died did not personally do anything to the oppressor to deserve death. This is the same with the genocide of Rawanda. It is true with most racial conflict. I believe this is true with the women killed, abused, and raped at home and those being trafficked. This is true especially with babies, for the only thing that can be accused of them is being born, which if that is so then we are all guilty for you and I were born the same way. We can say that those who died in the twin towers, killed by Saddam Hussein, Mao, Hitler, and those who died because of the holocaust, slave trade, and the bombing of Hiroshima were innocent victims. However, with all but one exception I do not believe we could say that the victims of Katrina, Tsunami in the South Pacific, HIV/AIDS, or even other disease epidemics are innocent victims.
The definition of “innocent” previously discussed (naqi) is not the whole definition of the word innocent. In fact, it is just a small part of a much larger picture. It is a derivative of naqd. Naqd means in the whole sense of the word- to be clean, pure, spotless, free, exempt, exempt from charges or obligations, innocent blood, guiltless, blameless, and clean hands. If you look up the word “innocent” in a dictionary, the first definition often given is “sinless”.
There are innocent victims. But there are only innocent victims on the relational plane of man-man. Why? We are all victims of pain. And we are all inflicters of pain. Not one of us can say we never hurt someone. We’ve all lied at least once, but if we’re truthful we don’t know the number of how many times we have. Why? Because we have perfected the art of doing to other what has been done to us. We’ve been lied to, so we’ve lied to others. We’ve been hurt, so we’ve hurt others. Many who have been molested or raped, in turn do it to someone else. Many who’ve been hit or beaten, in turn hit back or bully others. That’s why we justify our pain. That’s why we justify our wrongs. It’s actually quite simple. If someone wrongs you who you do not know or have not ever wronged, you are innocent. But if it is someone you know and someone you’ve wronged, then often we reap what we’ve sown. Unfortunately, in our minds the exchange rate is never the same.
So, why are we not innocent when it comes to natural disasters? Because we have wronged creation. Yes, we have wronged creation by not caring for it and polluting it, but only in part. That is the aftermath. The earth and creation from creatures to plants to the weather were not meant to be this way. Creation itself was an innocent victim. The earth at one point was unpolluted. But not by simple things as human waste. It was once untouched by death and sin. When the first man sinned and we with him every day since then, we tainted the earth with death and sin. Therefore, creation itself rebels against us. We no longer have the dominion over it we once had ownership of. Creation groans with longing to be untainted. When the earth groans against us it is justly due. For we are no innocent victim.
When it comes to man-man relationships, there are innocent victims. When it comes to man-earth, there are no innocent victims. But what if mankind is pitted against someone who is and has always been right? Someone who’s never broken His word, never raped someone, never killed someone? What if there was someone pure, of clean hands, and innocent?
What if we are compared to the No Ordinary Radical? Who then is the innocent victim?
Inside everyone of us, there is a human need. We all cry out for justice. We all want to be vindicated. And many of us once were so aware of this, that we responded and daily try to ignore that need.
We live in a world of pain and suffering. We don’t need the statistics of gross numbers to no that. We don’t need to know that hundreds of thousands are suffering around the world to know that we live in a world of pain and suffering. We don’t need to be told of the hundreds of thousands who are suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We don’t need to know that thousands of women are kidnapped, deceived, extorted, or daily raped by the Human Trafficking industry every month, every day. We don’t need to know that there are hundreds of thousands every day who feel the pain of a stomach not fed and a body long forsaken of health because of universal poverty in the earth. We don’t need to know these things happen just to know we live daily with pain. We do need to know these things to draw us out of our bubbles of introspective selfishness. We need to know because we need someone to love other than ourselves.
However, we all know pain. Even the richest, whitest, American westerner who never knew what it was like to go hungry.
We feel pain in our western world when a wife discovers her husband has been cheating on her. We feel pain when a mother finds out her son has been in pornography. Pain when someone touches, molests, or rapes us. Pain when someone lies to you. Pain when you fall off the skateboard. Pain when someone you love hurts you by words. Pain when suddenly your doctor tells you your body now hates you and wants to kills itself from the inside out. Perhaps the most common pain we Americans of the upper class West feel is the pain of relationships. When the person you said I love you to, decides one morning they don’t like you anymore and that life would be better without you. When the person you shared you first kiss, dumps you for a better version of the human race. We feel pain. From the extremes of death, sickness, and disease, and rape to the daily pricks of lying, deceitfulness, backbiting, gossip, and rejection, we all are very well acquainted with pain. Pain is the inescapable cost of living in this world. Suffering is an old neighbor that daily likes to knock on the door. The neighbor who will just never seem to go away.
Pain is one of the first things we learn in life. Before we can speak, before we can walk, before we can even sustain ourselves, we learn about pain. That first time we burned our hand on the hot stove, we quickly learned that curiosity brings pain. The first time we grabbed a rose, we learned even beautiful things bring forth pain. The first time our favorite pet died, we learned that we can’t count on the things we love to always be there. The first time someone we trusted lied to our face, we learn that you can’t ever fully trust someone. Whenever pain blindsides us time after time again, there is always a response. We always have a response. We always come up with an answer. We are well trained in the ways of how to cope with pain.
We get angry. We ignore it. We hide it. We numb it. We stuff it so far down in the recesses of our mind, hoping never to relive it again through our “beautiful” mind. Some even begin to obsess with it. Seeking it at every opportunity. We shut our emotions off. Desiring never to feel pain again, even at the cost of feeling love. We distract ourselves by stimulating every sensory we have. Some just stop caring. Others seek to please everyone they know. Seeking acceptance. Hoping if they never hurt or upset anyone again, they’ll never get hurt. Many of us justify it. We blame shift. We blame the oppressor, the system, the world, and God. We victimize ourselves. Often we respond by becoming needy and selfish. It’s all about feeding my need. Hoping consumption will over shadow the destruction. We get religious. We get “compassionate”. We throw ourselves into a world of doing good things for others. Hoping that in some way helping other pain, helping fight pain, that we ourselves will find the help we want, or at least lessen the consumption of suffering we experience. Others begin to fight back. Promising themselves never to let that happen again to them. We train ourselves in the ways of the art of inflicting bodily pain. All in the name of protection. Many of our responses come down to this. We give in or we fight back. We run or face it. Sadly, none of these responses ever solve the problem. Pain keeps coming like an endless pounding of waves like a never-ending ocean. We are all victims. Victims we say that are innocent of the crimes of humanity against us.
We live in a world full of radicals. Human history is full of them. From Phineas to Daniel, on towards Peter to Martin Luther, and ranging from Perpetua to Richard Wurmbrand. Gandhi to Malcom X to Martin Luther King. Those who were persecuted for thier beliefs to those who laid down their lives. All religions have their radicals, violent and non-violent. Radicalism comes in all kinds of forms. Extreme and passive, violent and peaceful, with actions and with words, with death and with life, the revered and the infamous.
Especially, in this hour of human history radicals seem to be everywhere. It’s the new it tag. Worse than being tagged as “intolerant”. The name radicalism seems to quickly paint the burned images in our minds of planes and burning buildings. Yet, we are quick to speak and even quicker at judging on impulse. We hate racialism cause we love the comforts our controlled world. We hate change. Yet, we all secretly desire a radical. One who, as Dictionary.com defines “a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.”, will bring forth reform to that one problem in society, politics, economy, the earth, and at home. We are a generation who cries out at all the injustice in the earth today. From genocide to high gas prices.
And many have answered that call of the human heart. The cry to see others vindicated, and more importantly ourselves. Every ethnicity and religion has their “righteous” radical. The black community has Martin Luther King and Malcom X. The Hispanic community adores Che. Muslims have Muhammad. Buddhist have Buddha. For atheist, Charles Darwin. We are the generation that loves the hero. The action hero of film is the most exhausted genre today. Lets face it, we long for the vigilante. When we couldn’t find them in our nations, our hometowns, we delusioned ourselves with imaginary heroes with abilities and cared for our well being. We always seek for the one who will fight for justice. Some find their answer in Spider-man (others in the darker Punisher), others in Ghandi, and even more recently the political saviors of our nations. Yet, all of them fall short. All of them have at least one flaw we desperately defend or try to conceal. Their all ordinary radicals.
This blog is about the one who is the No Ordinary Radical. He is a man who was so radical that our calendar is a chiastic structure with Him at the center piece. His life actually brought a turning point in human history. No man has been more debated about, had more martyrs, or been brutally afflicted. Many would say that His life on earth was the climax point of human history. I beg to differ. I believe that His life on earth was the greatest moment of cruciality. That it was the pivot point of human history. Why do I say this? Because the climax of human history will be the day He returns to this earth. Who is this No Ordinary Radical? Who is this one who answers the human cry for a vigilante? He was a humble man who came to have the most offensive name of all names. He is the hero who will never stay dead. He is Jesus Christ.
Who am I? I’m an ordinary radical like everyone else. An ordinary radical who is a friend of the one who is not ordinary. This is my blog about my ordinary cries for change. In this blog, i will write who I believe this No Ordinary Radical is, what I believe He wants to do today, how He is going to ultimately fulfill the desire for vindication, and how He in part will answer that cry now. Why will He? Because, He listens to the cries of the just for the unjust and answers.