They’ve turned the speed cameras back on in a nearby city and I’ll bet you are chomping at the bit to know how I know this information. Surprise! I got a ticket in the mail, complete with a photo of the back of my SUV, my speed, the time and the date. I knew exactly when it happened; the day after returning home from vacation. I was driving home from shopping in town and flapping my jaw with a friend via speaker phone and I was guilty as charged. I mailed the check and it cleared the bank.
A couple weeks later I got another letter from the police department, I figured the second notice must have gone out ahead of my check.
Wrong. This round the ticket was for the sedan in my name our college age daughter drives. Noting the day and time, I recalled she and a college teammate were visiting and had hit a trail on the north end of the city for a long run that morning .
She was guilty as charged. Now this had happened once before when she was in high school and I made her pay the fine. But this time I surveyed the situation as it stood, I noted the circumstances were different. Back then she was home living off mom and dad as most high schoolers do and she had money she could use to pay the fine. Today she is in grad school and makes ends meet by rubbing two nickels together. The fine would be a big bite out of her budget she really couldn’t afford, but after all it is what she deserved, to experience the consequences of her choice to not pay attention while driving. Just like her mama, right?
Then a thought crossed my mind…what if…what if I paid the fine and just never even mentioned it to her? The idea made me giddy inside. Yes, that is exactly what I would do. I would pay her fine and she would never even know she had a ticket and that her fine was paid.
She would be living under grace, and she wouldn’t even know it.
Which is the story of the human race you know. Because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross the entire population of earth from then until He returns is living under grace from the Highest Authority, and the large majority don’t even know it. What do I mean by that exactly? Just this, that we are guilty as charged of living under and in the curse of sin. Also known as the fall of man (see Genesis Chapter 3). Sin creates a veil and keeps us separated from being in the right relationship with God and in rebellion against him, which makes us enemies of God. Which puts us under the penalty of death and as Paul’s letter to the Romans reminds us “the wages of sin is death.” and we are guilty as charged.
Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead changed all of that. Paul reminds us in the same breath, “ But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We were bought at a high price, the life of God’s own Son. And His bodily (His physical body came back to life, it wasn’t just spiritual ) resurrection from the dead proves Jesus is God, because not a single human being has risen from the dead and stayed alive as He has. Even revived Lazarus eventually physically died, and stayed dead. The cross and resurrection are what makes Christ the most important figure in the history of the world and here is why:
There is a fine to be paid for our sin and the price is His shed blood. If we choose to believe Jesus Christ is the son of the living God and died and rose again His blood then covers the fine of our sin. There is nothing else that can. Not a lifetime of good works, nothing. Once we believe this in our hearts, the response demands us to act as if He is Lord over all of our life and obey Him by living as He commands.
Like Maggie, whether or not we know it or choose it, we are living under God’s free ( it was paid at a tremendous cost) to us grace. All that is required of us is:
a) Recognize we are getting what we don’t deserve – our sins paid for by Christ’s blood. This is what is amazing about grace.
b) Choose to receive that most precious gift. I do have a choice. If I don’t have Christ pay my fine, then I must pay with my life in the next one to come. God’s word says it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
c) And turn back to God being the boss. Now that we can be in right relationship with Him, that’s what Christ’s work allows- which is also known as repentance we choose to die to our old selves and rise up in Him a new creation . And that means learning to trust in, obey and follow Him. And the best news is we don’t have to wait to be in God’s Kingdom, we get it right away through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Who, according to Peter in the book of Acts, “Is given to those who obey God. “ And is the final witness to Christ.
Every single soul on planet earth since that first Easter morn is living under grace. Some know it, most don’t. But grace is there, like the sun and the moon and the stars whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. And it is waiting for another lost soul to find it, which causes rejoicing in heaven according to Jesus!
Maggie is on this email list so eventually I told her the story of her ticket. She was very grateful and said, “Mom, that fine might as well have been a million dollars, it would have been impossible for me to pay.” I knew that.
Nothing I (nor anyone on this planet past, present, future) could ever do on my own would ever pay my fine to God, it might as well be a gazillion dollars, it would be impossible for me to pay.
Thank God I have chosen to live under His grace. Which gives me a gazillion reasons to:
Be joy filled always,