It all boils down to the Courtroom of God. God, in his grace, has warned humanity over and over and over and over again that someday every single one of us will stand in his presence and be required to give an account. Romans 14:12 says, “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” No one is excluded from this Sovereign Summons. The bad news is that if we have committed even one sin we are guilty and must pay the penalty. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” The penalty of that sin is God’s wrath (Romans 1:18), death (Romans 6:23), and eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). This is extremely bad news because the Bible also tells us in Romans 3:10, “None is righteous, no not one.” Therefore, all of us are in trouble, unless someone intervenes.
Praise be to God that He, in His love, provided that Someone. This is why John 3:16 is such a powerful verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
But how does believing in Jesus help us in the Courtroom of God? Aren’t we still guilty? No, and here is why. When you believe in Jesus (and by believe I mean that you place your trust in who he is and what he has done for you on the cross) a miracle takes place. At the moment of belief, there is a great exchange that takes place, all of your sins (past, present, and future) are counted to Jesus and all of Jesus’ righteousness is counted to you.
This is what God calls justification. It is a word that you will find all over the Bible to describe what happens when you place your faith in Jesus. The word justification is a legal term, and it means counted righteous, approved, innocent, acquitted.
Now earlier I said it boils down to the Courtroom of God, and this is true, but only partially. For we do not have to wait until Judgment Day to be declared innocent. For those who have faith in Christ are declared innocent from the moment of their faith. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. “
Notice that justification does not come later; it exists NOW for those who trust in the sufficiency of Jesus’ blood. Likewise Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This means that all of your sins, even those you will commit tomorrow, next year, 10 years from now, or 50 years from now are entirely paid for by Jesus Christ.
So what does this mean? It means you don’t have to wait for joy. Our joy is NOW, for we are innocent NOW. We are free from the chains of sin and death and possess the promise of enteral life NOW.
False religions that teach the “Wait and see” approach are by definition cults. For they do not want you to be free in Christ, or experience the liberty of His Grace, or have the guilt of your sin removed. Instead they want you to be beholden to the religious machine, to be chained to the sacraments, to kneel and kiss the ring of its leader. This is exactly what Jesus rebuked in Matthew 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
The inability to enter the kingdom (verse 14) is due to their inability to understand the completeness of what Jesus did for them on the cross. The sacrifice was complete, the sacrifice is perfect, the sacrifice is finished; therefore…our joy is NOW!