Gross Miscarriage of Justice.

The UK Post Office scandal is prominent in the news. It has been brought to the public attention by a TV dramatization, and related documentary. However, it had already been in the news, and books have documented the sordid details.

No computer system is guaranteed fault-free, and Horizon certainly wasn’t. But hundreds of people were blamed for its errors and held responsible for large sums of money. There were blatant lies, cover-ups, reluctance to provide the facts, and officials protecting their own reputations: all resulting in false convictions, hundreds of lives ruined, bad physical and mental health, and even suicide. It is difficult to see how any good came out of it. People did not deserve such injustice.

Two thousand years ago an innocent, sinless man was condemned to torture and murder. There were lies, corruption, false evidence, officials concerned only about their own positions and reputations, and nobody prepared to defend a totally innocent man.

The enormous difference is that unspeakably good things did come as a result. While the individuals concerned acted in an evil way, God was giving His son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

His life, death and subsequent resurrection are the means, and the only means, by which we can be saved from eternal death.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved

Acts 4:12

A ‘great multitude that no one could number’ will be given eternal life in God’s kingdom.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10

We are all sinners. We all disobey God. But this man was prepared to suffer and die to wipe this out.

He did not deserve that suffering. We do not deserve the outcome.

Journalists have commented that, despite their reports, it took a drama to bring the Post Office scandal to the forefront of the public attention. The Bible has been around for many hundreds of years. What would it take to bring the saving work of Jesus to the forefront of our attention?

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Peace on earth?

At this time of the year we hear a variety of carols, many about peace on earth. Peace – really!

Is this just a myth, wishful thinking, or the real Bible message?

It is definitely the Bible message, and Christian hope. At the birth of Jesus angels sang:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

Luke 2:14

The Jewish prophets had said that Jesus would be the ‘prince of peace’.

But the world is in a terrible state, with horrific injustice and two major wars underway right now. So has Christianity failed?

Certainly not! Contrary to popular belief, Christianity was never designed as a national, universal religion. And Jesus never said that the church would spread and fill the earth. Actually, he said the opposite:

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few

Matthew 7:14

And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains (Mark 13:7-8).

In fact, one of our carols contains the words:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;

It goes on:

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling

And that is indeed biblical. The promise is of peace in God’s kingdom on earth, when Jesus returns.

But before that, now in this world of violence and trouble, Christian believers can have peace. Peace  with God, because of Jesus. Notice that the angels referred to those with whom he [God] is pleased. Not everybody, but those who believe.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 5:1

Let us all try to be in that group of believers.

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Sadly, a previous prime minister of the UK has been pronounced guilty of deliberately misleading Parliament. This has caused havoc in British politics. It is serious stuff.

There are biblical examples of people ‘deliberately misleading’ other people for a seemingly good cause. For example, Rahab lied when she hid the Hebrew spies (Joshua 2:1-7), Hushai gave foolhardy advice to Absalom in order to protect king David (2 Samuel 17:1-14).

Years later, at his sham trial, Jesus was accused of misleading the Jews.

And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king”.

Luke 23:2

This was a completely false accusation, as the Bible says of Jesus:

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

1 Peter 2:22

Does truth matter? Indeed it does.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Romans 1:18

In contrast, Jesus was :

full of truth’.

John 1:14

So we need to be very careful. The apostle John warned that by denying our sinfulness we actually accuse God of being a liar:

If we say we have not sinned, we make him [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:10

He also says that

Whoever says “I know him [Jesus Christ]” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:4

Now that is truly serious stuff!

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