Lessons from Citations

Last Friday afternoon I had the distinct displeasure of being pulled over. The problem? Apparently my license was suspended! It did not matter to the policeman that I did not know there was a problem (though he was very polite). It did not matter that I was sorry. In the eyes of the law I was guilty. Two thoughts ran through my head: 1. why had I not been informed that it had been suspended? and 2., how did the officer know??? I was not violating traffic laws. I was pulled over because my license plate was flagged as belonging to me whose license was suspended. That is freaky. He just knew.

Well, that has all been worked out and I am all properly and legally licensed up again. But it got me thinking…

It got me thinking about those verses in the Bible like,

  • Psalms 10:11 (NIV) He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”
  • Isaiah 29:15 (NIV) Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”

Traffic citations are bad enough, but every transgression I make of God’s Law is seen and recorded too. Just because I have not taken notice of them it does not mean they have not been taken notice of. Not one thing is missed! And just because I am not brought to account for them today it does not mean that I am not one day going to be. And as ignorance did not excuse me from my transgressing the law of the land, ignorance is not going to excuse me before God Almighty either.

But Jesus did.

He looked at my long list of transgressions against His Father and said, “I will pay for these.” It was not easy. It was not cheap. It cost Him His life.

He did so without asking me.

He did it even though all those transgressions made me His enemy.

He did so with no small print that might reinstate my guilt if I did not measure up or prove myself.

He did so even though there was no moral obligation or personal gain to be had in doing so.

He just did.

While it came at a price, I was able to settle with the law and get my license reinstated. But there is no way I could have paid the debt I owed to God and survived. If not for His grace, for free grace, I would be undone.

I will never fully know or understand how much He saved me from. But every day I am more thankful that He did. Thank you Jesus, for such rich grace to someone like me! You have left me forever singing,

Amazing Grace!
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far,
And Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yet, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forebear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

(John Newton, 1779)



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