It’s hard to believe it’s been almost twenty years, because the whole country was really fixated on the trial. It was 1:00 P.M., Tuesday, October 4, 1995, and America came to a sudden stop. Everyone was waiting for the O. J. Simpson verdict. Nine months of the most watched, most analyzed trial in history. And then, the jury’s got a verdict, and the judge announced that we couldn’t hear the verdict yet. See, it was placed in a sealed envelope. We had to wait until the next day to find out.
Everybody was guessing about it, and then as the verdict envelope arrived, America literally stopped to hear it. I mean, there was this huge power surge in New York City as thousands of TVs came on at once. And all across the country, usually busy streets were strangely un-crowded. Long distance calls dropped by 60%. Now, the verdict will no doubt be debated – has been for years. But one thing is sure. We were obsessed with knowing what the verdict was.
You and I wouldn’t be any different no matter what the verdict for O. J. Simpson was. But there is a verdict that really does affect you, because it determines where you will spend eternity. It’s God’s verdict on you. Was I good enough? Will I get to heaven when I die? Guilty or not guilty with God?
See, the verdict is not in an envelope. It’s in an open book. In fact I’ve got it right in front of me here. You have the right to find out God’s verdict on you. So our word for today from the Word of God, Romans 3:19 says, “Every mouth will be silenced; the whole world held accountable to God. No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law.” That means doing good things.
Chapter 3, verse 2, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Everyone is guilty. Verse 22 says, “There is no difference. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That’s verse 23. The verdict is in on each of us – “Guilty before God.” We’ve broken His laws over and over. We’ve hijacked a life that our Creator gave us and run it ourselves. We have been our own god. Not only is the verdict in, but the sentence has been pronounced.
In Romans 6:23 it says, “The wages of sin is death.” Some of us will plead the good we’ve done. It’s not enough. No one righteous, not one! See, a death penalty cannot be paid by doing good. Someone has to die. And a sentence in a word for our sin is hell. But this reading of the verdict is followed by this amazing offer of a pardon. It says in the next verses, “We are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus through faith in His blood.” In other words, someone has come to pay your death penalty – God’s own Son. So our only hope of being right with God, of ever going to heaven, is placing all our hope in Jesus Christ; the one who died in our place as our substitute.
See, if you think your religion or your goodness is going to satisfy God’s verdict, the Bible says it won’t. Why would Jesus die on a cross if there was a way you could possibly get to God on your own? Jesus died so He could forgive your sin and erase it from God’s Book and trade that death penalty that you and I deserve for the eternal life we could never deserve.
But you do have to put your total trust in Jesus to be your Savior. Have you ever done that? If you’re not sure you have, don’t risk another day without Him.
The bad news is we are all guilty. The sentence is death. But if you belong to Jesus Christ, if you put your trust in Him, the Son of God is your defense attorney who stands before His Father giving the verdict of “not guilty” and you will go to the heaven He has prepared for you.
Have a “Wonderful DAY in Christ.”
Family Worship Center