Believers Are Not Out On Bail

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

It is useful to have some idea of the rudiments of the justice system in order to appreciate what God’s Word means when it says that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been “justified.”...

In the American criminal justice system, for many charges, after one has been arrested and booked (photographed for a “mug shot,” fingerprinted, and paperwork completed) one goes to jail to await a preliminary hearing and after that a trial of the charge. The only way to be released from jail is to “post bond.” That is the process of paying a percentage of a substantial sum of money to the court as a guarantee that the person charged will appear as needed for hearings and especially for the trial.

A person out of jail on bail, who has been charged with a crime, is in a legal limbo. Legal is still innocent but a cloud hangs over his head. He has been charged but he has not been either convicted or cleared. He is waiting for a future adjudication of his case. He is still subject to criminal penalties (e.g., fines) and punishment e.g., prison or even death).

Anyone who has ever been through the criminal justice system can testify to the anxiety such a state ordinarily creates. The process is typically slow and difficult. As God’s ministers of civil justice (see Rom 13) police officers ordinarily do great work under difficult and frequently dangerous circumstances. As officers of the court prosecutors and defense attorneys are sworn to seek justice and to protect civil liberties but mistakes happen. To become a defendant is no game.