Getting Their Just Deserts

June 8, 2017
Volume 21, Number 20

If you’re thinking, as you read the title of this article, that I’ve misspelled a word, I totally understand. But I’ve learned a lesson after reading a news item this morning. Maybe three teenagers learned a more valuable lesson, though.

The news story came from Edina, Minnesota (a suburb of Minneapolis) yesterday. Police stopped a car with three teenagers inside, based on a description given by a grocery store employee. Sure enough, a cake was found in the car, one the teens had stolen from the store.

It turns out that the cake wasn’t a cake at all; it was a cardboard replica, made for display purposes only. The store manager, considering the larger situation, declined to press charges against these hapless young folks. One reader commented on the article, “They got their just desserts!”

It was my turn to be surprised when I decided to look up the background of this image. The correct spelling is “deserts”, and the word is an English word rarely used any more. It means something that a person deserves, not something sweet.

Will we get what we deserve? The Bible has a lot to say in response to that question. One verse that speaks powerfully is Moses’ warning to some Israelites to be careful to do as they had promised: “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Many seem to think they are too smart for the law or for the Lord. They believe they can break laws without ever being found out. Sometimes that’s true with human laws, but can it work with God? “And there is no creature hidden from [God’s] sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Those who try to evade God’s laws will receive their just deserts.

But wait – here’s some good news: God has made it possible for people to avoid getting their just deserts. What He would prefer to give us is mercy. Here’s how Paul stated it in 2 Corinthians 5:20,21: “… we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

If you ask me, that’s nothing short of amazing. It points to the love of God who would rather not press charges against us for breaking His laws. Someone, however, has to pay for our crimes. That’s why Jesus “who knew no sin [became] sin for us”.

“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.