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Philemon: Judge and Jury

An accused who goes to trial is guaranteed an impartial hearing. The judge embodies the law and is bound to act in accordance with the law. The prosecutor must present the facts and is bound to act in accordance with the law. The defense must also present the facts and is also bound to act in accordance with the law.

Too often we appoint ourselves as the jury of those who have sinned. We are partial, either because the offense was personal, or because of prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. It is the opposite of impartiality.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. -Romans 14:10

We are relieved of our jury duty, because Jesus is the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense counsel.

  • Jesus is the judge. The law is clear, the consequence of man’s sin is eternal death.

    The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son. -John 5:22

  • Jesus is the prosecutor. The facts are that man has sinned.

    Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. -Matthew 25:41

  • Jesus is our defense attorney. The facts are the same. All humans have sinned. But our defense counsel gives grace.

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. -1 John 2:1

We are the defendants, but Jesus took our place in the trial when he died on the cross. The righteous son of God, the holy judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney, became the defendant for us. To get through our trials, we must receive His righteousness.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:21

Reflections:

  1. Have you appointed yourself as a jury member in the trial of someone who has offended you? Jesus does not have a jury; he is judge, prosecutor, and defender. Release yourself of your jury duty and let Him execute the trial.
  2. The facts are that all humans sin. Turn to your defense counsel daily, repent and receive His grace.
  3. God wants us to grow our impartiality. Examine your prejudices and release them to God.