Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

Breaking The Law

          Some years ago I was driving through Mountain City, Georgia on my way back home to North Carolina when I was pulled over by a Georgia State Trooper in the middle of town. The officer approached my car and asked me politely, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

          I thought to myself, “I was driving slowly, so it can’t be for speeding and I didn’t run a red light. What could it be?” I didn’t know.

          So I told the officer, “I don’t have a clue.”

          He began to inform me that as I drove through town a car in front of me turning right was partially in my lane as the driver waited for his chance to turn. As I approached the turning car I had veered left to go around the vehicle. When I did I drove over some yellow painted lane markings on the road. The officer told me I was not legally permitted to drive in those painted areas. He said they were to be treated like a physical median in the road.

          I had no idea. I could not remember learning this traffic law. I told the Trooper, “Now that I know, I won’t do that again.”

          Even though I didn’t know it, I was guilty of breaking the law. I didn’t feel guilty until the officer informed me of the law. Once he did, I knew he had me.

          Thankfully, the officer proceeded to tell me he was not going to issue me a ticket. Instead he let me off with a warning. That was good news to my ears.

          Have you ever had an experience like that? There I was minding my own business thinking everything was fine, when in fact, I was actually breaking the law. I had no idea about this until the Georgia State Patrol officer told me about the law. In an instant I went from oblivious to guilty. Once I learned the law, I saw clearly that I was a lawbreaker.

          That’s the way it is with the Bible. When we learn the standards of God’s commands through our study of Scripture, we see that we have all broken God’s laws and are guilty. But without studying God’s laws, we may not even realize we have sinned against God.

          It is only when we understand our guilt that the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes real good news. When we see our own guilt before God, we appreciate more fully that Jesus Christ, by His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, has paid the penalty for our sin.

          In the letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes, “…I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’” {Romans 7:7}

          Paul tells us that without the law of God he would not have known when he sinned. When he learned of God’s law and saw that he had broken it, he knew then that he needed mercy, but deserved justice.

          In Georgia I didn’t appreciate my need for pardon and forgiveness until after I learned I had broken the law. That experience made me appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and made me thankful for the following Scriptures:

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

          “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” {Isaiah 55:7}

          My Georgia experience reminded me that when we break the law we either 1) pay the price ourselves, or 2) receive mercy and forgiveness.

          The law reminds me I am guilty, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims I have received mercy.

          And that’s definitely Good News!


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