Verdict before Performance
In most of life, you have to perform before you get the verdict. Not with Jesus.
In just about every area of your life, your performance will determine what verdict you get. Here's some examples of how this works:
- If you perform well in an exam, the verdict is a good mark
- If you perform well in the sporting arena, the verdict is you get picked for the team or win the match
- If you perform well in a concert, the verdict is the crowd goes crazy for you
- And if you perform well in the social arena or your peer group, the verdict is that you are accepted and included
So, you can see, in just about every area of your life, your performance will determine what verdict you get. While this all sounds pretty normal, it's also pretty scary.
Think about it.
What happens if you spend your whole life trying to get a positive verdict from everyone else? It will mean that every single day you will be on trial. Every single day you have to go into the 'courtroom' to perform and wait anxiously for the verdict.
Some days you will feel like you are winning, while other days you will feel like you are losing. Performance before verdict can be a very unhappy, unsettling way to live.
How to get the verdict before the performance
Do you know that it is only in the gospel of Jesus that you get the verdict before the performance? All other religions are like the rest of life: performance before verdict. But Christianity stands apart: the verdict leads to performance.
Have a look at Colossians 3:12-15:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Notice what these verses don’t say. They don’t say to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, etc. so that God will choose you and love you (in other words, performance, then verdict). No! It says that because you have already been chosen, declared holy and dearly loved, then you should act a certain way (verdict, then performance).
In Christianity, the moment you believe in Jesus, God passes his verdict (the only verdict that really matters). He declares you not guilty, forgiven, saved, loved, justified, accepted and adopted into his family. Brilliant! And this is all made possible because of Jesus’ perfect performance for us in living the perfect life, dying in our place and rising from the dead.
God's verdict is in - you are free!
The verdict is in. And now you perform on the basis of the verdict. Because God loves me and accepts me, I do not have to do things just to build up my resume. I do not need to do things to make me look good. I can do things for the joy of doing them and in gratitude to God.
So, in view of God’s 'verdict', based on his love, I am then free to 'perform', that is, to live out this verdict. And I can do this without ever having to worry about God’s verdict ever changing.
So, you can either enter the courtroom every day, putting your life on trial, trying to perform as best you can to get the best verdict possible - or you can live by faith in Jesus, knowing that the verdict is already in.
Performance before verdict. Or verdict before performance. Which one will you choose?