I like watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I like watching Detectives Eames and Goran, or Falacci and Logan figure out the case. It’s especially interesting when they get the different, maybe sometimes expected, suspects in the interrogation room and start breaking them down to get the truth, that the suspect “did it.” The only thing missing from the scene is the stereotypical light shining in the face of the suspect.
Our entire lives are lived as those suspects. The world seems to think that all are innocent, but from conception God law, both tables (both detective sets) are after us. They pry into our lives shining the light of what God has ordained as perfect. And as is expected were guilty. We didn’t love God, we didn’t love our neighbor, we loved ourselves, we served ourselves. We cry out, even boasting – as some of those suspects do in CI – that “we did that!” or maybe “We didn’t do that!”
So that’s our life, we’re in the hot-seat and the law doesn’t quit, it’s always there, and we’re always guilty. We fail. We justify and rationalize our deeds away. The law didn’t quit for Christ either. It was upon Him from Annunciation to Crucifixion. But Christ didn’t fail. Christ doesn’t justify or rationalize His deeds; rather He justifies us by His deeds. He takes away our sins bearing them on the Cross.
That Cross was the ultimate hot-seat. Christ was lifted up, and put there for us. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” All done, account settled, charges dropped. All the wrath of God was at that hot-seat upon Christ in order that we might be fully justified.
Luther calls Christ, “the mercy-seat.” And by virtue of Baptism He is! Through word and water the hot-seat of our sin is turned into the mercy-seat of God, Christ. We now rest in Christ. We arise rested in Him each morn. We return to rest Him in the Words of Absolution. And we receive that Mercy-seat’s true body and blood for our forgiveness. No longer in the hot-seat, but living under Calvary’s mercy-seat, living in the Mercy-seat of God by baptism, all heaven given to us now, and hereafter in eternity.