My heart sank when I saw the words “Traffic Police” on the back of the envelope. Just two months ago, I received a traffic summons for a speeding offence. To compound that, it cost me $130 and 4 demerit points 😦 It was a little too soon to receive another one, I thought.
A quick glance at the letter and the words “Speeding Offence” confirmed that it was what I had thought it was. I was caught going at 78km/h on a 60km/h road. Guess it would be another $130 and an additional 4 demerit points. I wasn’t exactly pleased about it but I reminded myself, the law is the law. And since I broke the law, I must face up to the consequences and accept the penalty.
Then, looking at the letter again, I noticed something I didn’t see earlier. It was an odd phrase: “The driver could have been fined $130 and be awarded 4 demerit points.” Could have been? That prompted me to read the entire letter more carefully. That’s when I noticed the subject header: ADVISORY NOTICE OF SPEEDING OFFENCE. And in the final paragraph, it started with “However in this instance, no summons action will be taken against you……This letter serves as an advisory to the driver.” I couldn’t believe my eyes! I broke the law, but I had been let off!
What an object lesson about law and grace!
This incident promptly reminded me of our Christian understanding of law and grace. Like this traffic offence, I am guilty of breaking God’s law and totally deserving of the penalty that comes with that. However, by His grace, I have been let off! There is one huge difference though. God, being just, doesn’t issue advisory notices. Sin must be judged and the penalty of death must be paid by the guilty party. That I might be let off, someone else had to take my place, to pay the penalty. That someone was none other than God’s perfect sacrifice, Jesus! Using the speeding offence analogy, when the guilty driver had to be named, God filled in the name, J-E-S-U-S. Jesus took my place and paid for my offence in full. Not just dollars and demerit points, but death. Yes, Jesus died for me in my place for my sins that I might be forgiven and free. Did I deserve such an act of sacrifice and substitution by Jesus. Not at all. That’s grace!
Indeed, I am thankful that I didn’t have to pay any penalty for my speeding offence. Being mindful of this will help me drive more responsibly. But I’m even more thankful and appreciative of Jesus settling every debt of transgression for me that I might be in right relationship with God through Him! Being ever mindful of this will enable me to live and walk circumspectly to the glory and honour of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour!
As the campaign slogan goes, “Speed thrills but kills!” May we be reminded also that “Sin thrills but kills!” Only faith in Jesus Christ and His completed work on the cross can bring us the salvation we all need.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23