Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Grace vs. The Law

I was on my way into town last night, probably traveling faster than I should have been. I was lost in thought, praying for a young friend in need of some help. That's probably why I didn't notice the cop car coming my way on the highway . . . until his lights came on.

Checking my speedometer I saw that I was doing 68 . . . in a 55 MPH zone. Thirteen over. In my mind that's a mandatory ticket. There is money to be made when you are that far over the speed limit. Hundreds of dollars in fines.

As I sat there by the side of the road, I sent a text to my young friend, explaining that I would be late. The officer was stepping out of his squad car now, approaching mine.

"Good evening sir," he said. "May I see your identification and proof on insurance please?"

I handed him both.

"You were going 68 in a 55. Heading home from work?"

"No. I was heading into town for a meeting with a homeless family."

"I'll be right back," and he returned to his car.

This was not going to be good. I was going to be late for a very important meeting. I was going to be out hundreds of dollars due to my inattentiveness. Money that could have been used to help the people I was on my way to meet. Ironic. And it was my fault. I was clearly guilty and was prepared for what was to come.

I saw the officer open up his car door.

"Here comes the bad news.," I thought to myself. "What an idiot I was!"

He gave me back my drivers license and, reaching out with his huge, tattooed arm, he said . . .

"I'm giving you a verbal warning. Please, pay more attention to your speed."

"Thank you, sir." were the only words the officer heard. But in my heart I was thanking God for the grace this man had just showed me. As I resumed my travel into town I wondered, "Why did he let me off? I was guilty! Was it the Bible sitting on my front seat? the Lifest wrist band I am still wearing? Or was it God who softened his heart? Or perhaps this man in blue was an angel, exhibiting God's grace, trying to keep one of His children safe. Only God knows. Either way I am grateful for the grace extends to all of us who believe.

Our laws demand obedience. So does God. When we break our earthly laws there are penalties to be paid. The same is true for God's laws. God's grace is exhibited in by His sending His Son to pay our fine for us. Love, justice, grace and mercy all on display . . . on the cross.

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." - Romans 6:8-14

Wonderful, Merciful Savior - Selah

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