“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” – Colossians 2:13-15
THE PENALTY HAS BEEN PAID
by Kaylee Hunting
Your heart pounds in your chest as you slowly enter the room. The cold metal of the handcuffs rubs against your wrists and murmuring follows you with each step toward the front of the courtroom. The bailiff cries out, “All rise,” and the black-robed judge enters the front of the courtroom. The judge proceeds to read the charges against you: “On trial for breaking every one of the 10 Commandments.” He goes on to read every transgression you have ever made in your life – even the moments that only you know about. All of your secret thoughts and actions are proclaimed publicly by the judge. By the end of the charges, your knees are weak as you stand without anyone to defend your case before the judge. You know full well that you deserve nothing but the worst possible punishment: the death penalty.
“What is your plea?” demands the judge. You can barely croak out the word, “Guilty.” The judge looks at you, with a face full of wrath. Out of fear, you cannot look him in the eyes. Your eyes meekly glance his way, and confusion begins to arise in your soul. The judge’s stone face is slowly melting to a face of pity and compassion, and tears are welling up in his eyes. You are perplexed by what is happening. Breaking all formality of the court system, the judge stands and says, “The defendant is declared not guilty!” Immediately, as the words exit his mouth, the room breaks into confusion and chaos – outraged at the injustice of the judge. “Order in the court!” rings out, and you watch the judge remove his robe. “I, myself, will pay the penalty for your sin,” he says. Stepping off the stand, he picks up the long list of your charges and places them under his arm. The handcuffs, which you have known so well, are removed and placed on the innocent judge. The weight of your sentence – the death penalty – is placed on him.
Although this may seem like an outlandish scenario, there is a somber reality to this imagery. We are the guilty, standing before God the judge. We have no room to boast, because we have done nothing to deserve freedom from our penalty. All we have to offer is hard evidence confirming our guilt. We simply come into the courtroom guilty, and the only reason we can walk out of the courtroom free of charge is because of the gracious act of the judge.
There is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace in our lives. We come to him broken and guilty. We don’t have to clean up our act in order to please God, because we can’t! The beauty of the gospel is that it is an undeserved gift! God sees us in our filth, and shows compassion to us by accepting us just as we are. However, because he loves us, he doesn’t leave us as we are, stuck in our sin. Our lives should be transformed as an overflow of the amazing grace that has been extended to us! We should desire to live counter-culturally as a natural response to being made alive in Christ. His death on the cross gives us new life. The record of debt, once declaring our condemnation, has been nailed to the cross. Jesus has paid our penalty.
Do you still live as though you are a prisoner to your sin? Do your thoughts and actions reflect that you have been set free? If you were on trial for being a Christian, would the jury have enough evidence from your life to affirm that you have been made alive in Christ? Would there be witnesses to testify how your life has been transformed by Jesus?
FAMILY LENT ACTIVITY
Spend time as a family focused on Jesus and the cross. Do all of these activities at one time or mix and match throughout the week.
• Do a cross craft and talk about what it means that our sins are nailed to the cross.
• Read the Crucifixion story in the Jesus Storybook Bible (p. 302).
• Discuss: Read Philippians 2:5-8 and talk about Jesus’s obedience to God. Jesus obeyed God and took our sins to the cross to save us. In light of His love displayed on the cross, how should you
• Worship as a family by singing Heart of a Hero.
• Pray as a family.
Take time to be still before God and pray, using these starter prayers to guide your time.
• Thank you for canceling the record of my debt. You made a way for me to be made right before you through the cross.
• I am so undeserving of your grace. I continue to live for myself, and I don’t live as though I have been
• Help me to live in light of who you have created me to be. I want every area of my life to be a reflection of what you have done for me!
Salt Company Women’s Ministry Leader
Kaylee is on staff with the Salt Company as a Women’s Ministry Leader. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Theological Studies through the Cornerstone School of Theology. Kaylee lives in Ames with her husband, Dave.