Are Your Books Balanced?

 

Last year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had a problem balancing their books.  It seems they were off about…$516 billion dollars.  That’s right…with a “B”…billion.   Now you may ask…how did this happen?   Well, the audit said: “Some of the errors were caused by them rounding dollar amounts to the nearest ‘billion,’ instead of rounding to the nearest ‘million.’”   Well, that explains it!   Just round to the nearest ‘million’…you know, if we could round to the nearest million…we could afford all kinds of things.

Now you’re probably wondering what accounting has to do with Easter.   Well, actually Easter is all about accounting.   Romans 14:12 says “… every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”   And Hebrews 4:13 declares “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”   In other words, the day will come when we’ll stand before God and we’ll have to account for how we’ve lived on earth.

Now, when folks think about standing before God, they tend to think in terms of ‘balancing their  books’.  They realize they’ve done some bad things so they hope all of their good things… balance out.   But in truth…can we ever balance our books…between good and evil?

The Bible says “No, we can’t.”  Because we’ve “all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)   So, if you think you’ll get into heaven because you’ve done good deeds…then you’re sadly mistaken.  Because we’ve sinned and fallen short, our books don’t balance.

Now lots of people don’t like talking about their sins…so they try to make themselves look better than they really are.  In the financial world when someone wants to make the books look better than they really are…it’s called ‘Cooking the Books’.  They hide what they’ve done wrong hoping no one will find out.   Usually, ‘cooking the books’ works…until someone who knows what they’re looking for…looks at the books.

So we cook our books…a little bit…to make others think we’re nice people.   But the problem is…we know what we’ve hidden.  And we know that one day we’ll stand before God and He’ll find it.   And that makes us very uncomfortable.

Now many folks think they can outsmart God.   They tell themselves, “If I confess this sin, God might hold it against me…but if I don’t…He might not know it.”  But the Bible says, “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”   We can’t hide our sins from God…He knows everything about us.

So, I guess…I’m trapped.  I’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  There’s no way God wants me in heaven with all my dirty baggage.  I can’t be good enough to earn my way into heaven.   And that’s what Paul wrote, “…I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do NOT want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:19)

Now, Paul was a great role model for Christians, but he admits that he’s not good enough to earn heaven.   He writes: “Oh! Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)   Well, the only one who can deliver him…Jesus!  Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation (judgment, blame) to those who are in Christ Jesus.”   Now, how does that happen?  Well, that’s what Easter is all about.

Easter is about God loving us so much that He balanced our books.  The Bible says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)  Easter reminds us that we don’t deserve to go to heaven…but God loves us so much…that He paid the price…for our sins.

Dying on the cross was a terrible experience for Jesus and His final words were, “It is finished.”

What was finished?  One scholar said that that “Archaeologists have repeatedly found the Latin phrase ‘Consummatum Est’ which means: “it is finished”, scrawled across tax receipts that were used in Jesus’ day.”   This showed that the tax amount that was owed…had been “Paid in Full” and they were set free of their debt.

Now, what is April 15th known for?  That’s right…it’s tax day. Wouldn’t be great if someone wrote a check to cover ALL your taxes for ALL time?  They’d be “Paid In Full” for life!   That’s what Jesus’ death on the cross did for us.   Our sins have been PAID IN FULL. The scriptures say you can: “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 6:11)

God takes the ledger of our life and rips out all the sinful pages. When we’re baptized, all our past is buried in that watery grave and we rise reborn in the image of Christ.  Our books are balanced…and our sinful debt…is PAID IN FULL.

I read about a dream a man once had.   He said: “After living a decent life, my time on earth came to an end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench inside a court house. The doors opened and I was told to come into the courtroom and have a seat at the defense table.  As I looked around, I saw the “prosecutor”, who was an evil looking man.   Then I looked at my lawyer, who had a kind and gentle disposition.   He sure seemed familiar to me.

Just then, the door opened and there appeared the judge and I couldn’t take my eyes off of Him. As He sat down, He said, “Let us begin.”   The prosecutor rose and said, “My name is Satan and I’m here to show you why this man belongs in hell.”  Then he proceeded to tell of all my lies that I had ever told.   The things that I stole and how I’d cheated others in the past.  He told of wicked perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further I sank in my seat. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look at anyone, especially the Judge or my own lawyer.

As upset as I was at Satan, I was equally upset at my lawyer for just sitting and not defending me.  I knew I’d done those things, but I’ve done some good too.  Couldn’t my attorney at least mention my good deeds?   Then Satan closed by saying, “This man belongs in hell.  He’s guilty of all that I have charged and there’s not one person here who can say otherwise.”

Then my lawyer asked if He might approach the bench.  Even though Satan objected, the judge allowed it.  As He walked towards the Judge, I was able to see Him in his full splendor and majesty and I realized who He was…it was Jesus.   He reached the bench and softly said to the Judge, “Hi Dad” and then He turned to address the court.

“Satan was correct.   This man had sinned; I won’t deny that.  And yes, the wages of sin is death and he deserves to be punished.  However, I died on the cross that he might have eternal life.   And the record shows, that this man accepted Me as his Savior…so he is Mine.   His name is written in the Book of Life and no one can take him from Me.  This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy.  There’s nothing else that needs to be done. For I’ve done it all.”

The Judge slammed His gavel down and said, “This man is free.  His penalty has already been PAID IN FULL.  Case dismissed.”   I turned to Jesus and asked, “Have You ever lost a case?”   Christ smiled and said, “Everyone that has ever come to Me, who has believed, repented of their sins, confessed Me as their Lord and Savior, and been baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, has received the same verdict as you…“PAID IN FULL.””

Now, here’s the truth.  If you haven’t given yourself to Jesus, you’re still under judgment. Your books don’t balance and you have no hope of going to heaven.  Today, you have a choice before you…a choice of life or a choice of death.  I suggest you take ‘life’.  And I suggest you lean on God’s mercy.   I suggest you give your life to Jesus Christ.

Begin your journey to peace. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior? It begins with a simple prayer:

“Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Did you pray this prayer?