I was a criminal…

A few weeks ago, I was thinking to myself I wonder when my car tag expires…

Turns out it expired in July. Oops.
Thankfully I have a friend who pointed it out to me!

I moved in May, and apparently the government doesn’t like to forward important documents like car registration renewals.  I try not to be a conspiracy theorist, but I think it’s probably so that unknowing,  innocent people like me will get pulled over and get a ticket on top of the already outrageous amounts we pay to register our vehicles. But alas, I was one of the lucky ones who noticed the expired license plate before the police did. So I spent two hours yesterday in line waiting to renew it, paid an arm and a leg, and am proud to say that I am again a law-abiding citizen.

I can’t believe I drove around for over three months absolutely oblivious to the fact that I was technically breaking the law. Once I realized my tag was expired, I felt like a criminal every time I got behind the wheel. This probably sounds dramatic, but I am very serious when it comes to upholding the law! Haha. I was so conscious of all vehicles around me, certain that an unmarked police car was going to pull me over and bust me! I felt guilty!

This whole scenario reminded me of something. Leave it to me to always find some spiritual comparison to my mundane life experiences.  Here is my strange thought process, so just bear with me folks:

Once upon a time, I was a little girl lost in my own sin. Someone pointed it out to me; maybe several people did. I learned of Christ’s sacrifice and of how I could be forgiven. Once I realized all of this, I was aware of my sinful state. I began to feel guilt. Not that I wasn’t always guilty; I was! But once I realized that I was breaking the Law, I began to feel the guilt of a criminal. I could never pay the price for what I had done, so I had to place my faith and trust in the One who had already done it for me. And my debt was paid in full!

Do you see any parallels to my car tag story? I think my point (if you can piece together anything through my rambling) is that there is a process to repentance. The first step is recognizing that you are a sinner! Then you begin to feel the guilt and search for a way to pay your debt.

Matthew 5:17 
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Jesus is speaking here. He says that he came to fulfill the Law.  The word fulfill means “to carry out” or to “satisfy”. So Jesus came to satisfy the Law and take the punishment for our disobedience. According to the Law, we all must die (not only a physical death, but a spiritual one as well) as a punishment for our sins.  But Jesus took our place, satisfying that debt that was owed. He died in place of every one us.

Galations 3:23-25
Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

So what then is the purpose of the law now? Why keep the law at all when we have forgiveness? Well an obvious answer is that the law brings order. If there were no laws, imagine how people would behave. I mean, we already have enough crazy people out there behaving like idiots with laws in place!
But the purpose of God’s Law in this day and age is really to point us to Christ! It is for us to realize that we could never measure up and can never keep all the laws, no matter how hard we try..

Romans 3:23 
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23
 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

There are millions of people in the United States (and all around the world) who – like me –  are unaware that they are breaking the Law. God’s Law. They may be trying their VERY hardest to keep all the rules and be a good person, but unbeknownst to them their tag still says “expired”. And I’m not going to sugar coat it; they are on their way to hell.  It’s my job, and YOUR job too if you are a follower of Christ, to point this out to them! I’m not saying to go around telling everyone they are lost sinners going to hell. Because, although that may be true…it isn’t a very effective way to reach someone. But it doesn’t take away from our responsibility to share the good news with them…Yes, it’s true that they will never be good enough, but that doesn’t matter! None of us will ever measure up. I could never save myself. 

Romans 10:13-15
 
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news
!”

Would you be a good friend/neighbor/co-worker if you noticed that their car tag was expired and didn’t tell that person? How much more important is this?

Side note:
I want to have someone say my feet were beautiful, because I ran the distance to tell my fellow-man the good news of the gospel. 
Everyone knows that would be the only time my feet would be called beautiful.  (-;

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2 thoughts on “I was a criminal…

  1. Awesome parallel! I’m so grateful that Jesus came as a ransom for me. That’s the crazy part of the love of Jesus, the “mystery of the gospel” as mentioned throughout Paul’s letters. Imagine the perfect, spotless Lamb of God coming to die for you and me–wretched sinners–it’s a mystery for sure. And it’s also the most beautiful picture of love I’ve ever seen.

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