We spend our lives in the courtroom. Now, not many of us will actually appear before a judge or a magistrate to answer criminal charges. But we all live our lives in the courtroom of public opinion. We are constantly on trial, and our performance is being judged. Sometimes we are acquitted, sometimes we are condemned, sometimes people think well of us, sometimes they don’t, but always we remain on trial.
And then there is the trial of private opinion, what we think of ourselves and how we are performing – as parents, as husbands or wives, as students, as workers… the list is endless. Again, sometimes we acquit ourselves, often we condemn ourselves, but always we remain on trial.
In this light, the apostle Paul says something truly extraordinary: “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4, NIV). He seems to have escaped the court altogether, both the court of public opinion and the court of private opinion. He stands instead in God’s court. But in that court, the case against him has already been dismissed. The judgment has already been laid on God’s Son in his place. When we come to Jesus, and trust in his death, he takes us to live with him outside the courtroom. It is a brand new way of living.