My first exposure to Bill Cosby was either listening to my dad’s Cosby stand-up cassette tapes in his Dodge Ram or watching The Cosby Show. I had the tapes memorized just about and couldn’t miss an episode. I remember visiting my sister in Florida once, and it was time for The Cosby Show. I was near tears because we couldn’t figure out what channel it was on. But then there is Fat Albert, and the what is the oft forgotten Picture Pages. And who can forget Jello Pudding Pops? Do they even still make those? It would seem that my life was Bill Cosby.
Now as an adult, the man who I grew up watching turns out to be a sexual predator and no amount of laughs or “hey, hey, heys” or pictures or pudding pops will take that away. Convicted by a jury of his peers, Bill Cosby is going to jail. If he was not, then justice would have failed. If he were to be let off the hook because he was a celebrity or because he was rich or because he made people laugh, and gave to charitable organizations, then the world would call “Foul!” and rightly so. Imagine the judge saying, “Cosby, I am a big fan! You did some really terrible stuff, but you’ve also made people laugh for decades, not to mention you gave us pudding pops! These trials have been pretty ‘hell-ish’ on you, haven’t they? I tell you what: let’s leave it at that. I think you’ve learned your lesson. How could I punish someone who has done such good things in the world?” No one would have that! His victims deserve justice, and he deserves to be dealt with justly. All the good that he did cannot erase or outweigh the evil that he did.
The same goes for us. It is common to hear people thinking this way. They believe that their good will outweigh their bad. But when standing before a jury or, in eternity’s perspective, the Judge, we are not on trial for the good things we’ve done, but for the evil we have performed. Our good has no power to undo our bad, any more than Bill Cosby’s stand-up, television shows, or inspiring speeches will undo the bad he has done. There is a confusion about judgment day as if it is a competition of good versus bad in our lives. Judgment day is not much different than a courtroom. A good and just judge will not take into account one’s supposed “good” works (subjectively speaking) and simply toss out all of their criminal actions. God is the greatest and most just Judge; He will not even hint at doing something as unjust and despicable as that.
Yet, while He is just. He is also the Justifier. He has a legal and moral way to make us right. He has the supernatural ability to remove the crimes from us. It’s what we call imputation. He does radical surgery on our souls, spirits, hearts (whichever terminology you want to use). He does a double-transplant surgery in which he removes the crimes we have committed against His law, and transplants them onto His Son. Therefore, our sins are no longer part of who we are. They are now on Christ. While He transplants our sin to Jesus, He also transplants Jesus’ righteousness (right, pure, perfect life) onto us. At which time, we now have right-standing before God, while Jesus took our condemnation, our judgment.
That is why Paul wrote:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified (declared “not guilty”) by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation (a satisfactory, wrath-assuaging, substitutionary atonement) by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness (lawfulness), because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just (right in His condemnation) and the justifier (the one who makes the law-breaker into the law-keeper through double-transplant surgery) of the one who has faith in Jesus, (Romans 3:23-26, ESV).
Notice though, the italicized portions. This gift is to be received by faith. It is for the one who has faith in Jesus. No person will ever receive a not guilty verdict who does not first have a living, active faith in Jesus. No surgery will take place unless one puts himself/herself on the table of faith.
Bill Cosby will be going away for a long time for his crimes. Eternity is much longer. It is, of course, never-ending. Will you seek what only God can give: a double-transplant surgery, removing your crimes from you and putting Christ’s righteousness upon you? Or will you stay as you are and face the penalty at Judgment Day?
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV).