Remember comedian George Carlin, the foul-mouthed irreverent funnyman George Carlin? Thus saith St. George: “I'm also tired of hearing about innocent victims; this is an outmoded idea. There are no innocent victims. If you're born on this world you're guilty, period . . . end of report, next case. Your birth certificate is proof of guilt.”
Though not known for theological acumen, St. George had a point. We are all guilty; we are all sinners. Sure, it’s easy to compare ourselves to others and, then, think we’re not so bad. Hey, I never took an automatic weapon and shot up a movie theatre. . . . Hey, I never sexually abused four-year-old boys. . . . Hey, I never robbed a bank and took hostages. . . . Man, I’m pretty good person, aren’t I?
Look at the world, the wars, the violence, the crime, the economic disparity the pollution, the corruption, the injustice; it didn’t get this way by chance. Humans, given free will, free choice, made the wrong choices, and thus “the entire world is guilty before God” (Romans 3:19). And that includes each of us as well.
Which is precisely why Jesus Christ came, to do for each of us what none of us could ever do for ourselves, and that is make a way of escape from the corruption of this world. Though we are guilty, though we deserve condemnation, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17, NIV).
It works like this. Whatever your past evil, whatever your present evil, whatever you have done wrong, whatever you are doing wrong—two thousand years ago, at the cross, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all that you have done or are doing now. The punishment that you, as a sinner who has done evil and hurt others, the punishment that you deserve, it fell on Jesus instead so that you never have to face it yourself!
St. George understood the problem; that part he got right. What I don’t know, though, is if he ever grasped the most important part, the solution: Jesus on the cross.