When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. … While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
A Christian was preaching the good news of Jesus Christ in a town in Canada. A man entered the hall under the influence of drink and started to abuse those present. When some tried to take him outside, he became violent and insulted the preacher. The police had to intervene, and one month later legal action was taken against him. Since he could not pay the fine imposed by the court, he was sentenced to a few weeks in prison.
The preacher was present at the trial and finally asked the judge discreetly for permission to settle the fine. Without hesitating, the latter agreed and told the accused, “You are free. Someone has paid the fine for you.” “Someone has paid for me? Whoever would do that for me?” “The man who you insulted,” replied the judge. Deeply moved and with tears in his eyes, the man held out his hand to the preacher and thanked him. This incident is a lesson for us. That preacher did not prevent the normal course of justice. The accused was duly pronounced guilty. But out of Christian love the preacher paid his fine.
What a fine illustration of the way justice and the love of God have unfurled! Justice demands the punishment of sin, and God cannot renounce His righteousness. But out of love towards us He sent His Son to earth; and on the cross Jesus underwent the punishment in the sinners’ stead for all who turn to God, accepting His forgiveness through faith.