An Imperfect System
I read recently about James Bain. He was able to use a cell phone for the first time in order to call his mother and tell her that he had been released after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Mobile devices didn't exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field. Of course, sophisticated DNA testing also didn't exist at that time. Such evidence was used recently to ascertain that Bain could not have been the rapist.

Although nothing can replace the years James Bain lost, he was not bitter about the injustice he suffered for over three decades. "No, I'm not angry," he said, "because I've got God." The 54-year-old said he looks forward to eating fried turkey and drinking Dr Pepper. He said he also hopes to go back to school. Although Bain lost his freedom for so long, he can be thankful that Florida law automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spend in prison. This means Bain is entitled to $1.75 million. Such seems only fair in situations like these.

But friends, how did an injustice like this happen in the first place? The simple answer is this: it happened because humans make mistakes. Our justice system is designed to prevent the innocent from being convicted, but it is not perfect. It does fail occasionally.

What could be worse than being falsely accused, arrested, and then convicted of a crime you did not commit? What could be worse than being incarcerated for 35 years for a crime someone else committed? I'll tell you what is worse: Suffering in hell forever for sins you did not commit!

But, praise be to God that such simply cannot happen! The justice that is administered by deity is perfect. Everyone who one day ends up in eternal destruction will deserve to be there. His system of justice is flawless! He never makes mistakes. There will be no false accusations or missing information. Almighty God sees and knows everything. This truth can be reassuring for some, but it is scary for others.

We would do well to remember what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:9-11 - "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."

Every human being who has ever lived will one day stand before the Lord's throne of judgment. God knows the good and evil we have committed. He won't mistakenly send anyone to heaven or hell. His judgment will be fair, and it will be based upon truth. As Jesus Himself said - "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).

Those who do not know God and those who have not obeyed the gospel cannot be saved (cf. II Thess. 1:7-9), and even if they think they are "righteous," God knows the truth (cf. Matt. 7:21-23). God's system of justice is perfect, and the wise will submit to Him. Fools, however, will seek their own way and fall prey to the terror of the Lord.