Many of you who have seen me sing "Not Guilty" live have asked me for a copy of the following story. Matthew West, Sam Mizell, and I wrote "Not Guilty" after I shared this email I had received with them. I was so moved by the grace and forgiveness of God that I wanted to put this very moving story to music. That writing session was so powerful it left one of us in tears (hint: it wasn't me)! Hope you enjoy!
After living what I felt was a 'decent' life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around I saw the 'prosecutor.' He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me, I felt I knew Him. The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence and as He moved across the room I couldn't take my eyes off of Him. As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, 'Let us begin.' The prosecutor rose and said, 'My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this woman belongs in hell.' He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done? Satan finished with a fury and said, 'This woman belongs in hell, she is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise. When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior. He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, 'Hi, Dad,' and then He turned to address the court. 'Satan was correct in saying that this woman had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this woman deserves to be punished.' Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, 'However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and she has accepted Me as her Savior, so she is Mine. Her name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch her from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This woman is not to be given justice, but rather mercy.' As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, 'There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all.' The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips... “The penalty for this woman has already been paid in full. Case dismissed. This woman is free.”
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)