Not Guilty!

Ok . . . so I’m pretty sure this is a first for me . . . a devotional thought from the prophet Nahum. I don’t know how many times I’ve read Nahum’s judgment upon Nineveh . . . it’s probably more than “a few” . . . but I don’t recall having anything “jump off the page” before . . . this morning, that changed . . . right out of the shoot . . .

“God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; the LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” (Nahum 1:2-3a)

It’s that last phrase, the LORD “will not acquit the wicked” that just hit me as I read it. One of my topics to watch for is the “attributes of God” . . . when I find one, I underline it with a navy blue colored pencil . . . and this is one such attribute . . . God will not acquit the wicked. Other versions put it this way, “The LORD will by no means clear the guilty” (ESV) . . . “will not leave the guilty unpunished” (NIV, NASB).

That’s a true statement . . . God does not acquit . . . the guilty are not “let go” . . . nor will they be unpunished. And it reminds me this morning that my standing before God lies not in the fact that He will overlook my transgressions, but that I am, before Him, “not guilty!”

My eternal future this morning doesn’t lie in the hope of a God who will “look the other way” . . . of One who will overlook my sin and let me into heaven anyway. Instead, I rest in the One who has paid the price for the guilty. My sin has not been overlooked it has been atoned for. God does not acquit me, instead He stamps on the “invoice” for my sin, “PAID IN FULL!”

God’s holy nature cannot acquit or overlook or leave sin unpunished. But the love of God is such that He determined to pay the price for my sin through His Son on the cross. I read about that this morning too . . . “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). “It is finished” . . . are there any three more glorious words! . . . aka “the price is paid” . . . aka for all who will believe, “not guilty!”

Justified is the theological term . . . read about that also this morning in Habakkuk, “But the just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4b). God is not required to go against His holy nature and acquit me in order to save me . . . the price has been fully paid for my sin by Jesus the Christ . . . the One come to save His people . . . and because I have believe that . . . because by faith I own Christ as Lord and His death as payment for my sin . . . because I trust in the One who has risen from the dead and has ascended to glory and will one day return for His own . . . I do not fear the wrath of God . . . because, in Him, I am not guilty!

I am “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26).

I am redeemed . . . purchased with a price out of the marketplace of slavery to sin . . . His blood, an atoning sacrifice for all my sin — past, present, and future . . . God demonstrating and being true to His holy and righteous character in that He might maintain His just nature by becoming also the justifier, paying the penalty Himself through His Son! Oh, I believe! Oh, glorious truth . . . I am not guilty!

Father, thank You for the reminder this morning of Your immense love and Your amazing grace. Thank You, that on the cross the price was paid and, truly, the work of redemption was finished. All praise and blessing be Yours as I consider afresh that I come before You not in my sin, but in Christ . . . You don’t overlook my sin or acquit my guilt, but You see it fully atoned for . . . when You look at me, You see Jesus . . . I wear the robe of righteousness He purchased for me with His blood . . . not guilty . . . to You be all glory . . . amen!

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