Psalm 97

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols— worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O LORD. For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

It’s nice to remember, amidst the trials and tribulations of this world, that the Lord reigns and that righteousness and justice are the foundations of His throne. We could use a whole lot more of both right about now what with the news of major earthquakes, fires or storms, or some outlandish new threat to world peace.

Those of us in the Church should be especially comforted that His hand restrains evil, and I include all the natural and man-made threats to our health and safety above as being by-products of evil. It can only go so far. And if you think it’s going too far, that just means that we should lift up our heads for our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28)

One day soon, when all who will respond to His call have done so, He will say, “Enough!” and in an instant, the righteous will be spirited away to the place prepared for them. We will praise His Holy Name, thanking Him for guarding our lives and for delivering us from the hand of the Wicked One.

And how do we know we belong to “The Righteous”? Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:17,21)

How can this be? God, Who knows the end from the beginning, has looked forward in time to the day when you stand before Him and are finally made perfect, totally conformed to the image and likeness of His Son. As part of the blessing you received by asking Jesus into your heart, He chose from that day on to see you only as you’ll be then, not as you are now.

And if you sin between now and then? If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Immediately upon confession, we’re forgiven, the sin is forgotten and we’re pure once again, as righteous as He is. The law of double jeopardy protects us from accusation.

Here’s how it works. In Roman times, when someone was convicted of a crime, the law he had broken and its penalty were written on a parchment and nailed to his prison cell door. When his sentence was served, the jailer wrote the Greek word “Tetelestai” across the parchment, signifying that he had paid his debt to society in full, and gave it to him. If he was ever accused of that crime again, he could produce the parchment showing the penalty had been paid, and the charges were dropped. Double jeopardy was forbidden.

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:14-15)

The penalty for your sins is death. When Jesus went to the cross, the spirit world saw a parchment with all the sins of your life written upon it nailed it to the cross with Him. His last word before dying was “Tetelestai.” In John 19:30 It’s translated “It is finished.” But legally it means, “Paid in full.” He was saying that His death paid in full the penalty for all your sins. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) You needn’t fear confessing any sin, because the parchment listing all the sins of your life has been marked Tetelestai, paid in full. You’re as righteous as God is. Double jeopardy is forbidden.