(By Thor Knutstad)
Satan always rushes at the mention of legal matters. Though Revelation 12:10 says that he is "expelled from the real courtroom of God," the accuser finds himself there by the door trying to twist kernels of truth into mountains of accusation and condemnation on God's people. The deceiver wants us to prove and defend our stance with God by performance and works. In true essence, Satan is the most obvious and yet most subtle approval seeker. He puts the attention on our sins (all of our sins) and he causes us to be deceived to think that we stand and fall on our own behavior. He tries to make us think that we are alone and without advocacy – and raises questions about the extent of God’s forgiveness in Christ’s atoning work. He (the enemy) will go so far as to make God’s people think that their moments of struggle are some abuse of liberty and license when it is not (for some it is, but more on that another time). If I trust in myself, I live in the devil’s courtroom and hand him the gavel, which he in turn hands to me for self-judgment. At this, I need to not hand the gavel back to the one true Judge (our merciful and satisfied God), but plead for His mercy that is already provided through the grace healing work of Christ. Judgment is pronounced on Christ - not me. Jesus takes it.
When I stand in His grand courtroom, I know and humbly acknowledge that my good deeds are not enough. I put my hope FULLY in Christ. When I am truly convicted of real sin, He points me PAST my sin, BEYOND self-condemnation and on to the beauty and purity of Christ. His last word to me is hope. You see, my defense is the Lord Jesus Christ. When I trust in myself to perform, my hope is in me. Yes, I race to repentance and accept the joy of conviction with a smile, knowing that this heart of mine testifies to Messiah and His permanent and full atonement. And then I learn something more that God my Father has been teaching me all along – that this reality of being convicted by the Spirit of sin is very different than being in the devil’s courtroom. In the Kingdom life of God’s courtroom, I see MORE sin – not less. And my God welcomes me to the battle with a good judgment – “Son or daughter, because of my Son, there’s nothing you can do to make me love you less." You see, He always delights in His sacrificial love for me. He never decreases in love for me and His love is constant. Sure. Full. Permanent. Unlimited. -- Praise Him.