Monday, July 20, 2015

The Burglar

The Burglar
By Tony Miano
© 2015

Author's note: I am indebted to two people for their assistance in writing this parable and gospel booklet.

Sye Ten Bruggencate patiently reviewed multiple versions of the text, providing both creative and theological insights along the way. Sye was also most instrumental in encouraging me to put this parable to paper, after hearing me use it in my evangelism efforts. Thank you, Sye.

Allison Pari, my lovely niece and editor of The Master's College periodical publication The Master's Current, edited this work. Her professionalism, as well as her love for the Lord and literature, has made this work far better than it was when I presented it to her. Thank you, Allison.

All Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) ©2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

This work is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without the expressed, written permission of the author. However, readers are encouraged to share the link to this post both far and wide.

This work will soon be published in booklet form.


His life was one of petty crimes. Well known in the community as a self-righteous young man, he always had an explanation to justify his run-ins with the law. He was often in trouble, but he repeatedly managed to avoid appearing before the judge, choosing to accept plea bargains instead of taking responsibility for his actions. Ignorant of legal proceedings, he was unaware that the judge had to approve every plea bargain. Blinded by his self-righteousness, he did not realize that his freedom wasn’t the result of his own ability to manipulate the system. His freedom was the result of the judge’s patience—a patience that had its limits.

He was always sorry when he got caught, but his remorse was nothing more than worldly sorrow. It never amounted to true repentance. Even before being released from jail for one of his myriad offenses, he was already planning his next effort to satisfy the ravenous desires of his darkened heart.

He was really no different than the other members of his community. He was simply more prone than others to act upon his sinful thoughts, though he wasn’t very good at it. His sins always seemed to find him out.

Tired of being known in the community as a petty criminal, the man set his sights higher. He decided he would expand his criminal activity from bike thefts and shoplifting to burglary. He would enter someone’s home and steal from the residents as they slept in their beds. He knew in exactly which home he would begin this seedier and more desperate work: the largest home in town.

Late one night, after filling his stomach and liver with 40 ounces of malt liquor, the man decided to break into the home. He watched the home from a distance, waiting for the last light to be extinguished. Emboldened by liquid courage and thinking himself a crafty criminal, he waited a while longer for the residents to fall deep into sleep.

The burglar hopped over the small picket fence surrounding the front yard of the home, causing it to creak. Then, the neighborhood dogs began to bark, alerted to the fact that something was moving in the night. The burglar hid himself in the darker shadows and waited for the dogs to quiet themselves.

The burglar made his way to the back of the home, where he found the kitchen door. To his surprise, it was unlocked. He entered the house with a flashlight in his hand. He also had a knife in his pocket, just in case.

The burglar slowly made his way through the dark kitchen and even darker hallway into the living room. He stood in the corner of the room and surveyed its contents with his flashlight. The light briefly drew his attention to several family pictures on the walls. A father and mother. Parents with what appeared to be an only son. He felt a smile form on his face as he wondered what it would be like to have a family, to have parents who loved him. The smile quickly turned to a grimace as he envied the framed testaments of relationships he saw on the walls.

He didn’t stop there. His anger toward the family, a family he had never met, grew. He didn’t believe he could ever have what they had, so he didn’t think they should have it either. The burglar was a coveter, never content with what he had, always wanting more, always wanting what someone else had.

The burglar realized he had already been too long in the home. He cleared his mind and returned to the task at hand. As he rummaged through the darkened room, opening and closing bookcases, end table drawers and the like, the burglar didn’t realize how much noise he was making. That is, until he heard a sound coming from the back of the house.

Someone was awake.

He froze in his tracks as the sounds came closer and closer. Was it someone going for a midnight snack, or had they heard him rummaging through their possessions? The footsteps were getting louder; the person was getting closer. Then the figure gasped loud enough to startle the burglar, who immediately turned and shined the flashlight on a young boy.

The boy screamed.

Acting impulsively and according to his nature, the burglar rushed toward the boy while pulling the knife out of his pocket. With an instinctive lunge, the burglar plunged the knife into the boy's chest.

The boy slumped forward but did not fall right away. He lifted his head and looked at the burglar as if to ask, “Why?” With a loud exhale, the boy cried, “Father!” He fell to the ground, holding the handle of the knife still in his chest.

The boy was dead.

With the boy’s spattered blood on his clothes and face, the burglar stood silent, motionless. Then he heard the sound of feet running down the hall in his direction. He turned and rushed through the closed front door, almost ripping it from its hinges.

And he ran. While he ran from the police who he knew would soon be on the scene, he also tried to run from his conscience, which, until this moment, had been seared by years of sinful behavior. But no matter how fast or how far he ran, he could not run from his thoughts. He could not run from the images and the sounds of a boy dying in front of him. He could not run from the thoughts of the burglary and murder he had just committed.

So lost in thought was he, that the burglar didn’t see the patrol car coming toward him. It wasn’t until he heard the siren that he looked up to see the flashing blue and red lights directly in front of him. The burglar made no effort to evade arrest. He simply put his bloody hands on the hood of the patrol car and allowed the officers to take him into custody. He gave no resistance.

After being booked at the police station, the burglar was interrogated by detectives. He confessed to his heinous crime and provided a written statement.

This was a death penalty case. The burglar would receive no plea bargains. His only hope was to plead not guilty and hope for the best in court. Maybe he could get off on a technicality. Maybe the confession would be thrown out.

Still no remorse. Still no repentance. Nothing more than a worldly sorrow. While the burglar knew what he did was wrong, while he felt bad about it, and while he might even be able to convince some that he didn’t intend to kill the boy, his thoughts were really only of himself and the consequences he would likely face.

The trial began early on a Friday morning. It was unusual to begin a trial on the last day of the work week.

It didn’t take long for the prosecution to make its case. Horrific crime scene photos brought both male and female jurors to tears. Compelling physical evidence including finger prints, DNA, and blood splatters on the burglar’s clothing was presented to the jury.

And then there was the burglar’s handwritten confession.

Throughout the morning, as the burglar sat and listened to the testimony of the detectives and the district attorney’s presentation of the physical evidence, he could not shake the nagging thought, “I’ve seen the judge before. But where?”

The burglar’s attorney made little noise, rarely objecting to the prosecution’s line of questioning or introduction of evidence. He knew his client was guilty. His strategy was to do as little as possible to upset the judge and jury and then make a plea for his client, focusing on his client’s poor upbringing and lack of opportunities in life.

To the amazement of all in the courtroom, the case was given to the jury for deliberation before the noon hour. Nobody left the courtroom. Something told them the jury would quickly return with a guilty verdict.

The burglar was led out of the courtroom and into a holding cell. There he sat. He wondered if he would die an old man in prison or strapped to a gurney with a sharp needle inserted into his arm. He saw no other options. He knew there were no other options.

And there was that nagging thought: “I’ve seen that judge before.”

An officer came to the burglar’s holding cell. “It’s time,” he said as he inserted the large brass key into the cell door. The officer led the burglar from the holding cell back to his seat at the defense table. His reappearance caused a low and mumbled buzz in the courtroom.

The people in the courtroom snapped back to attention when the judge reentered from his chambers. “All rise!” barked the bailiff.

Everyone rose to their feet, standing quiet and still. Then the jury was led into the courtroom.

“You may be seated,” said the judge.

“Has the jury reached a verdict?” he asked.

The foreman of the jury stood, holding a folded piece of paper in his hands. “We have, your honor.”

“Please hand the verdict to the bailiff,” the judge ordered.

The jury foreman extended his note-holding hand to the bailiff, who received the written verdict and presented it to the judge at his bench. The judge slowly opened the piece of paper and read it to himself.

“Oh no!” the burglar whispered to himself with a terrified tone. “Now I remember where I’ve seen the judge!”

The burglar’s mind was taken back to that fateful night—to the living room where he murdered a boy in cold blood. He closed his eyes to replay the scene in his mind, and his mind’s eye took him to the framed family portraits.

“He’s the father!” the burglar said to himself with a gasp. “I murdered the judge’s son!”

The judge refolded the piece of paper and placed it on his bench in front of him. He turned his gaze to the defendant.

“Will the defendant please rise?” ordered the judge.

Both the burglar and his attorney rose to their feet.

“Mr. Foreman, how do you and the jury find the defendant in this case?” asked the judge.

“We, the jury, find the defendant in this case guilty of murder in the first degree.”

The burglar’s attorney asked, “Your honor, the defense requests that the court poll the jury.”

One by one, the 12 jurors verbalized their decision. “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty…”

Once the jury had been polled, the judge thanked them for their service, released them, and had them escorted from the courtroom.

“Do the people have any objection to the court imposing sentence upon the defendant at this time?”

“No, your honor.”

“Does the defense have any objection to the court imposing sentence upon the defendant at this time?”

The defense attorney turned and looked at his client, now shedding tears for maybe the first time in his life. The burglar shook his head.

“No, your honor.”

The judge looked sternly into the burglar’s eyes, holding his gaze for several silent moments. “Young man, having been found guilty of murder in the first degree, while in the commission of a felony burglary, you are sentenced to death. You are to be taken from this courtroom and into the execution chamber without delay for the immediate imposition of sentencing.”

The burglar, now loudly sobbing, dropped his chin to his chest. The bailiff moved in between the burglar and his attorney to lead him from the courtroom to the last place he would ever see on earth—the execution chamber.

The bailiff, holding the now convicted murderer by the arm, took the dead man walking to a side door, which led out of the courtroom.

“Wait!” the judge ordered.

The bailiff stopped. All eyes in the courtroom turned from the man about to die to the man who sentenced him to death.

“Young man, you murdered my son. You broke into my home and, in cold blood, you murdered my only son. The sentence I have issued to you is just, according to the requirements of the law. You deserve to die for your crimes. You deserve to die for murdering my son.”

What happened next had never before been seen in a courtroom and has not been seen since.

The judge rose from behind his bench—his sovereign place of authority. As he stepped down, he removed his robe—the symbol of his authority.

The judge made his way to the murderous burglar. Again, he looked his son’s killer in the eye.

“Yes, you deserve to die for your crimes. There is nothing good in you. You have no redeeming qualities. You are a wicked, unrepentant man. You are, after all, a man with a sin nature and a heart that is deceitful and desperately sick. Yes, you most certainly deserve to die.”

Knowing his life would soon be over, knowing there was no hope, the murderous burglar’s worldly sorrow turned to hateful rage.

“Get on with it! If you’re going to execute me, then execute me! I’m tired of hearing that I killed your son! I know I killed your son! And you know what? I would probably do it again!”

“I know,” the judge said.

“You know? That’s it? I killed your son and I tell you I would probably do it again, and all you have to say is, ‘I know?’”

“I have more to say,” replied the judge. Again, several moments of silence filled the courtroom. “Yes, I have found you guilty,” he said, “and I’ve sentenced you to death. But I’m going to take your place.”

Every jaw, including that of the murderous burglar, dropped.

The judge ordered the handcuffs removed from the convicted man and placed on himself.

“You are free to go. You are exonerated of your crimes and your conviction is hereby expunged from your record. What the law requires of you—death as the just punishment for your crimes—I am going to take upon myself. I’m doing this because I love you. I’m doing this because I love my son.”

With those solemn and unbelievable words, the judge was escorted to the execution chamber, where he allowed the executioner to strap him to a gurney and inject a chemical cocktail into the vein of his left arm.

Standing just outside the execution chamber was the convicted, murderous burglar. There he stood and watched.

And there, the judge died. He died a death he did not deserve in order to take upon himself the punishment the burglar rightly deserved for his crimes committed against the judge.

No one took the judge’s life. He willingly laid down his life so the burglar could go free.

The tears the burglar shed were different now. No longer did tears of self-pity flow from his eyes. The tears that now flowed were tears of love, contrition, brokenness, and repentance.

The wrath, anger, bitterness, and hate he had felt toward the judge were gone. He knew the pardon he received was undeserved and unmerited. He knew he had just been given a gift he could never repay. In an instant, by a supremely sacrificial act of love, the burglar’s heart was changed. No longer was his desire to satisfy himself. He now had a new heart, with new desires to try to live up to so great a sacrifice, so great a gift. He knew he never could live up to it, but it would become his life’s labor of love.

How do I know these things?

I am the burglar.


What you just read was a parable, a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. While the story is not true, there is much to learn from it.

Yes, I am the burglar, but so are you. We have all sinned. We have all broken God’s law and fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23) every day of our lives.

What is sin?

All wrongdoing is sin (1 John 5:17). Everything and anything a person thinks, says, or does that does not proceed from faith in Jesus Christ is sin (Romans 14:23). Sin is to disobey, to break the law of God (Nehemiah 9:29). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).

You, like every other human being, were created in the image of God. You are an image-bearer of your Creator. You know this is true for two reasons:

First, creation itself testifies to the reality of the Creator.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

Second, God has given you a conscience. He has written His law on your heart. God has given you the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

“They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:15-16).

You know it is wrong to lie, because you were created in the image of God, and God is not a liar. God is truth.

You know it is wrong to steal, because you were created in the image of God, and God is not a thief. God is good.

You know it is wrong to engage in any form of sexual immorality, because you were created in the image of God, and God is not a fornicator. He is not an adulterer. God is faithful.

You know it is wrong to harbor bitterness or resentment in your heart. You know it is wrong to be angry without cause. You know it is wrong to hate another human being, which God equates with murder (1 John 3:15), because you were created in the image of God, and God is not a murderer. God is love.

You know it is wrong to take God’s name in vain, to use His name to express anger, surprise, disgust, or even joy. You know it’s wrong to make His name common or a curse word, because you were created in the image of God, and God is not a blasphemer. God is holy.

But your sin goes even deeper than this.

Your sin is not simply wrong thoughts, words, and actions toward other people. All of your sin is against God. King David of Israel knew this well.

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (Psalm 51:3-4).

So heinous are your sins in the mind of God, it is as if you broke into the Judge’s house and murdered His Son, trampling through the Son’s blood as you ran out the front door.

“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:26-31).

Like the burglar in the parable, you are without excuse (Romans 1:20). The soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). When you die and stand before the Judge (Hebrews 9:27), your Creator and God, you will not be able to claim either innocence or ignorance of violating God’s law.

God, the good Judge who shows no partiality (Romans 2:11) and will not accept a bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17), will judge you according to the law He has written on your heart. And contrary to what you may have heard, the Day of Judgment is not a court trial. It is a day of sentencing, and the punishment God has determined for all sin against Him is eternity in hell.

“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:35-36).

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42).

“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43).

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

In the parable, the burglar received the death penalty as the just sentence for his crimes. Likewise, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The just punishment for your sins against God is eternity in hell.

It is a remarkable, even shocking, scene in the parable when the judge, having sentenced the burglar to death, stepped down from his bench and took upon himself the punishment the burglar rightly deserved.

Even more shocking than an unbelievable scene in that fictitious human courtroom, is the fact that God has actually done this. God has literally taken upon Himself the just punishment for a countless number of sinners. And here is how He did it.

Some 2,000 years ago, God the Father sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, just as the prophet Isaiah declared He would be more than 700 years before His birth.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Jesus, God the Son, humbled Himself and submitted Himself to the will of the Father, taking on the form of human flesh without setting aside His deity. Jesus did not regard equality with God the Father as something He had to hold onto, as if it were something He could lose or forfeit. Jesus was and is fully God and fully Man.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).

Jesus, the God-Man, walked this earth for some 33 years. During that time, He obeyed the Father and His law perfectly in thought, word, and deed. He knew no sin. He could not sin, because He was, is, and always will be the sinless Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29).

Yet, in spite of the fact that Jesus was the sinless God-Man, He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered and died a horrific, bloody death He did not deserve.

“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.’ And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

“As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, “I am the Son of God.”’ And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, ‘This man is calling Elijah.’ And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:24-54).

Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father in His life and in His death. In doing so, just as the judge in the parable did for the burglar, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment sinners rightly deserve for their sins against God.

However, unlike the judge and the son in the parable, Jesus did not remain dead. After Jesus died on the cross and was buried, He rose from the grave, forever defeating sin and death.

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

Jesus sacrificially shed his innocent blood on the cross for those who would humble themselves, turn from their sins and turn toward God, and by faith receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:6-10).

The burglar received mercy. He did not receive what he deserved—the just condemnation for his crimes.

The burglar received grace. He received what he did not deserve—a full pardon for his crimes.

Justice was served. The burglar received the benefit of justice executed upon another on his behalf.

The God who created you and before whom you will one day stand is not capricious, arbitrary, or unjust like the false gods of Islam, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, the Watchtower Society, or any other man-made religion. God is perfectly holy, righteous, and just. He must punish sin or else He would cease to be holy. At the same time, God is perfectly loving, merciful, gracious, and kind.

God’s perfectly consistent character was beautifully displayed on the cross of Jesus Christ. At the cross, justice and mercy kissed, making salvation possible for those who repent and believe the gospel.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26).

God will either be your Judge or your Father, your Executioner or your Savior. You must come to Him on His terms, for God does not negotiate with sinners.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9-13).

Repent. Believe the gospel. Turn to Christ and live. He will take your heart of stone that loves what is evil and hates what is good, and He will give you a heart of flesh that loves what God loves and hates what God hates. You will be reconciled to your Creator, not on the basis of anything you have done to earn or deserve it, but on the basis of God’s mercy that permitted His Son to die on behalf of sinners.

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

Repent and believe the gospel while God has given you time.

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