I remember my first run in with the law. I was driving a 1963 Plymouth Valiant through a suburb of Cincinnati. The blue lights came on behind me and I felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The police officer came up and said,
“Hey, buddy. How’s it going?”
“I’m fine, officer,” I replied cautiously. “Did I do something wrong?”
“Is this a new thing now,” he asked, “driving without your lights on?”
I looked down at my headlights. It was a pull-slider switch that was not pulled out all the way. I had pulled it out enough that my dash lights were on, but my headlights were not. The officer let me off with a warning, but reminded me to turn on my lights from here on out. I never made that same mistake again in that car.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:1-4 NIV)
Just because Jesus came and changed the way we are forgiven, it does not change the fact that sin is sin. When we break the law, we deserve punishment. When we are not punished (because of Jesus), that is a free gift. That gift is grace. We don’t take grace lightly, though. We are grateful and we stop breaking that law.
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:21-23 NIV)
How about you? Are you grateful for God’s grace? Is that gratitude enough to motivate you to stop breaking God’s laws?