Eldon Riley was a good man. He was a caring father and was active in the lives of his three daughters. He was a 4H leader, a foster parent, and was active in the Optimist Club, fair association, Knights of Columbus, and his church. If there was ever a good person, it was Riley. On December 31, 2006, Riley got behind the wheel without realizing he had too much to drink, and his pickup struck another car causing the death of Ashley Roll.
The evidence was clear, and the judge had a difficult decision to make. What do you do with this good man who broke the law? What is best for Eldon Riley? What is fair for the family of Ashley Roll? Is society truly benefited by locking a good man up where he is no longer available to serve his community? The judge ruled according to one issue, the law. “You committed a crime,” the judge said before administering justice and sentencing Riley to prison.
Riley had his day in court before the judge, as we will one day as well. Judgment Day is coming for every one of us (Hebrews 9:27) when we all stand before God (1 Peter 4:5). What will be your defense? I hear some argue, “How could God send a good man to hell?” But the Bible is clear: There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10) for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2:10).
No number of good deeds will bring back the life of Ashley Roll just as no level of obedience will account for your sin. You cannot undo your sin through good work, and God’s law requires justice. The fair thing is to find us guilty, but there is good news.
Your story does not have to end on the wrong side of justice, because God is also merciful. You will never be good enough to save yourself, but God’s love is bigger than your sin. Jesus paid the penalty of sin, and He offers to credit His payment to your sin account if you will believe upon Jesus for salvation. Cling to Jesus as if He were your only hope, because He is.
Romans 10:9-10 – that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.