Imagine you have a teenage son. You’ve told him what he’s to do. It’s for his own good . . . for his protection . . . because you love him. But let’s say he does what all teenagers do at one time or another – he disobeys. Let’s say he rear-ends another car while fiddling with his c.d. player. He gets a ticket for ‘following too closely’. There’s also a breach in your relationship because it happened as he was on his way somewhere he promised not to go AND he had older kids in the car with him.
So there’s two dimensions to his ‘sin’. . .
Law and Punishment – Your son violated the law. He’s found guilty and sentenced to a fine (his punishment). The penalty has to be paid . . . by someone. Should you or someone else come in and pay his fine, it’s done. He gets off scot-free.
Debt and Repayment – Relationally, your son still ‘owes’ you. Through his deception, he made a withdrawal from the ‘relational bank account’ of trust he had built up. The trust was breached between you. He’ll have to perform well for quite a while before that ‘debt’ gets repaid and the relational bank account gets back to where it was.
God, OUR (heavenly) Father has the same dilemma when He looks at our sin. From His infinite love, He sent Jesus into the world to pay our fines . . . to take the punishment for our sins. This may seem nebulous but it’s not. Our sin is a big deal. Disobeying a holy God . . . acting like we’re our own God and doing what we want instead of what He wants. Since the ‘wages of sin is death’ the punishment is no small deal either. Death is the ultimate punishment for breaking the law. But Jesus took the punishment for all our law-breaking at the Cross. The ‘sentences’ for all our sins, attributed to Jesus instead of us, were paid for with His life in lieu of ours.
That still leaves the relational ‘debt’ created when a disobedient son breached his father’s trust. Jesus paid that too. Our relationship with God is totally restored instantly and forever through Jesus. Some may call it ‘cheap grace’ – I call it overwhelmingly amazing. That I can forget about God for hours and days, be unkind to people I love – even lie about something. Yet I’m forgiven through what Jesus did for me at Calvary. My debt is paid AND my relationship with my Father never takes a hit. He’s crazy about His kids isn’t He?
I don’t know about you, but I’m very, very grateful. It’s a ‘too-good-to-be- true’ deal that’s really good and really true. Through Jesus, my sins are forgiven AND my relationship with my Heavenly Father is restored.
This leads me to appreciate three things:
- How much God loves me
- That I must elevate my game so I don’t need to be forgiven for even more sin.
- How I must extend forgiveness to others as He extends it to me – no punishment and no repayment required.
It’s called grace . . . God’s grace. Ain’t it amazing?
Question: Have you grasped God’s taking your punishment AND His paying your ‘relational debt’? Tell us here.