In 1992, Dennis Lee Curtis was arrested for armed robbery in Rapid City, South Dakota. In his wallet, police found a list of rules Curtis had written for himself—guidelines for his robberies. For example, he wrote:
• “I will not kill anyone unless I have to.”
• “I will take cash and food stamps—no checks.”
• “I will not rob mini-marts.”
• “If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.”
• “I will rob only seven months out of the year.”
• “I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.”
This may seem odd, but Dennis Lee Curtis was a thief with some standards. But when he stood before the court, the judge did not consult Curtis’ list of rules. He pulled out the laws of the state by which to judge him, by which to convict him. In the same way, when we stand before God, He won’t consult man-made rules and standards. He will judge us by His unchanging Word.
Jesus 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). Observe: by God’s standards we are ALL guilty of sin. “As it is written; ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23).
But the GOOD NEWS is that God is not only willing to forgive us, He has made a costly Provision for our salvation from sin. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
On the cross, Jesus, the Son of God, paid the price for our redemption from sin. “He Himself is the propitiation [or “atoning sacrifice”] for our sins, and not for our sins only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Those who accept His offer of salvation through obedience, will receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 6:23).
Let’s be sure to live by God’s standards, not our own. For God’s Word is THE standard of judgment.
David R. Sargent