"Justice and Grace"
May 14, 2014
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-13
The law may be the law, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
That pretty much explains the reaction of a judge in Pennsylvania who had to make a decision against a woman whose case appeared in his court.
The woman is Eileen Battisti and in 2011 her house -- a house valued at $280,000 -- was sold because of an unpaid tax. Sound sad? You ain't heard nuthin' yet. Battisti is a widow who is trying to raise three children on her own.
And the tax for which her home was sold: that was a grand total of $6.30.
In her defense, Battisti says she never received any notification about this miniscule tax, which was due, while the authorities said they sent out all the required official documentation. Eileen says she didn't know she had a problem, the folks in control say, "That's your problem not ours. The law is the law, and you didn't pay what you owed."
Looking at the law, part of the job description most judges take seriously, the arbitrator of Battisti's case had to say, "I'm sorry and I wish things were different, but the law is the law." You messed up and you have paid the penalty.
That's pretty much what the Lord had to say to Adam and Even when they took a chunk out of the fruit from the forbidden tree. Although the Lord wished they hadn't sinned and He didn't have to pronounce His verdict, the facts were simple: the couple had broken the law and justice demanded they be punished.
Just like the law demands you and me be punished for who we are and what we do.
But God didn't stop with the words that offered no hope of escape from condemnation. You see, the Lord who is just, also happens to be gracious. That is why, after He had enforced His laws, He kept on going and promised to send a Savior. Indeed, He comforted our frightened first father and mother with the news that He would send His own Son to take their place and offer His life as the ransom price for their salvation.
In Jesus, humanity was promised -- and has been given -- the means by which forgiveness could be received and through which the Lord's favor would rest upon those who had been given faith in the crucified and risen Redeemer.
In short, because of Jesus, believers' sins were forgiven, their debts were paid, and they could never lose the eternal home in heaven which Christ had won for them.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You are a God of justice and mercy. For the sacrifice of the Savior who paid my debt, I give thanks. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
P.S. - The fellow who bought Battisti's home said she could have it back for $260,000.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries