After living a "decent" life, my time on earth came to an end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what looked like a court house. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat at the defense table. As I looked around I saw the prosecutor - a villainous looking man who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I had ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left, where, seated, was my lawyer - a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed familiar to me. The corner door flew open and the judge appeared, dressed in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as he moved across the room. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. As he took his seat behind the bench, he said, "Let us begin."
The prosecutor rose and began his opening statement, "My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell." He began by describing the lies I had told, things I had stole, and how I had cheated others in the past. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my chair I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own lawyer, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten. As upset as I was at Satan for revealing all those things about me, I was equally upset at my representative, who sat there silently - not offering any form of defense at all. I knew I was guilty of all those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least cancel out part of the bad things I had done? Satan finished with a fury and closed by saying, "This man belongs to me in hell, since he is guilty of all these charges, and there is no person who can prove otherwise."
When it was his turn, my lawyer first asked if he might approach the bench. Satan yelled, "I object!," but the judge remarked, "Overruled," and beckoned my attorney to come forward. As he got up and started walking, I was able to see him in his full splendor and majesty. I realized why he seemed so familiar. My attorney was Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior. He stopped at the bench and softly said to the judge, "Hi Dad," and then he turned to address the court. "Satan was correct in saying that this man has sinned. I won't deny any of these allegations. And yes, the wages of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished." Jesus took a deep breath and turned to his Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, "However, I died on the cross so that every person might have eternal life. Since this man has accepted me as his Savior, he is mine." My Lord continued, "His name is written in the book of life, and no one can snatch him from me. Satan still does not understand that this man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy." As Jesus sat down, he quietly paused, looked at his Father and replied, "There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all."
The judge lifted his mighty hand, slammed the gavel down, and bellowed from his lips, "This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed!"
As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, "I won't give up, I'll win the next one." I asked Jesus as he gave me my instructions where to go next, "Have you ever lost a case?" Christ lovingly smiled and said, "Everyone that has come to me and asked me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, Paid in Full."
- This is a slightly edited version of a popular e-mail sent the summer of 2001. The author is unknown.
We are what we think.
- 12/06/2016 08:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Ronald Nash
Ronald Nash was one of the most influential evangelical Christian thinkers of the last half-century, but what exactly did he believe and what did he contribute to the Christian apologetics enterprise? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Ronald Nash—and why he still matters today. Who Was Ronald Nash? Ronald H. Nash (1936–2006) was born in Cleveland,…
- 11/29/2016 08:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Walter Martin
Walter Martin was one of the most distinctive Christian apologists of the twentieth century, but what exactly did he believe and what did he contribute to the apologetics enterprise? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Walter Martin—and why he still matters today. Who Was Walter Martin? Walter Ralston Martin (1928–1989) was born in New York City…
- 11/22/2016 12:07 PM
The Appeal of Common Christianity
Within church history, it seems some Christian traditions or denominations like to emphasize those beliefs that make their particular group distinctive. These unique features or beliefs often reflect an attempt to answer or resolve a challenging or paradoxical aspect of Christian theology (such as God’s sovereignty versus human freedom, views of the sacraments or ordinances such as baptism, perspectives on…
- 11/15/2016 08:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Justin Martyr
Saint Justin, also known as Justin Martyr, was one of the first Christians to meet Greco-Roman thinkers on their own ground by using philosophy as a tool or handmaid (servant) to defend the gospel message. But what else did he contribute to historic Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Justin Martyr—and why he still matters…
- 11/08/2016 08:30 AM
How Would You Introduce Your Faith?
Have you ever been asked to introduce yourself in a public setting? What if you were asked to introduce your Christian faith to a group of non-Christians—what would you say? As you think about the question you might consider conveying that the Christian faith is a set of beliefs—but it also involves an important collection of values, and it is…
- 11/01/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Jerome
Tradition reveals that St. Jerome preferred studying the biblical languages because it helped him fend off impure thoughts. But who was this ancient Christian monk, and what is his enduring legacy in terms of historic Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Jerome—and why he still matters today. Who Was Jerome? Jerome (c. 347–420) was…
- 10/25/2016 07:07 AM
3 Books to Deepen Your Delight in Jesus
I have a new book coming out in early 2017 titled God among Sages: Why Jesus Is Not Just Another Religious Leader (Baker Books). In this new volume, I compare Jesus with Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, and Muhammad. In preparation for writing my new book, I read close to 100 books about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and about…
- 10/18/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Basil
Not many people are known as so-and-so “the Great.” But St. Basil the Great was one of the finest thinkers, writers, and preachers in Christian church history. What did this man believe, and what did he ultimately contribute to historic Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Basil the Great—and why he still matters today.…
- 10/11/2016 07:00 AM
Should We Read Print Books or E-books?
Is it better to read paper books or electronic books? E-books have their benefits: They are convenient, especially when traveling, and they are often significantly less expensive than physical books. They are also becoming more like physical books as developers continue to improve the technology. Also, I think all reading is good, so I don’t oppose the reading of…
- 10/04/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Tertullian
Though he died almost 18 centuries ago, Tertullian is often quoted today in theological and apologetics circles. But what did this man believe and what did he ultimately contribute to historic Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Tertullian—and why he still matters today. Who Was Tertullian? Tertullian (c. 160–220) was a North African church father…
Last Modified December 24, 2005