Bye, Bye Fine

Here in France they copied the English and put traffic radar machines all over the place. They also put up a big sign to announce that they are there but occasionally poor souls get busy talking or thinking about how to solve the world’s problems and forget they are there. (Me, for example).

The result isn’t pretty. You open a letter with the impressive letterhead “French Republic” to find a bill for 90 euros (that’s if you were only going 13 mph too fast. It gets worse as you get faster).

I’m a witness to the fact that these official letters inspire a certain amount of fear, along with anger and frustration. They enrich the owners of the radar machines and rob (well, kind of anyway) poor souls like me, who just forget for an instant.

Seems that spiritually-speaking, Jesus had a letter like that nailed to his Cross.

“When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.” (Col. 2: 13-15, The Message)

If I take Paul’s symbolism correctly, it’s as if the motive for Christ’s condemnation was nailed to his Cross with Him. But, that motive wasn’t his sins, it was our sins.

When I finally pay my fine for driving too fast, that letter has no more power over me. Someone could come and say, “You must pay your fine!” Then, I could show Him my receipt and tell him, “That letter has no more power over me or claims on me. I’ve paid my debt.”

And you know what? You could even pay my fine for me, and the result would be the same. No more debt because the price has been paid.

Do you see what Jesus was doing? Our sins had run up a huge debt against the justice of God. There were two ways to rid ourselves of that debt—we could pay or someone else could pay our debt for us.

Only … if I paid my debt to God’s justice it would have cost everything I have—my life—and I would have been rejected eternally into a place prepared for punishment of the devil and his angels. That’s the only way I can pay my debt. (Eternal) life in prison.

Or another can pay my debt. The Father prefers the second solution by far. So, that letter that was written against me was nailed to his Cross. If we looked at it closely I wouldn’t be surprised if we couldn’t read, “PAID IN FULL” stamped in blood-red letters across its face.

I suppose these spiritual authorities are those evil powers that would remind us of our debt and try to keep us in slavery to fear. Nope! Ain’t gonna work any more, that particular lie.

Jesus paid my “fine.” You can’t claim payment again, neither can the enemy. God now calls me “righteous” vis a vis the claims of justice.

Anyway, the devil and his angels have a “fine” of their own that they’ve got to pay. We see the sorry procession marching behind the triumphant leader, Jesus Christ. They are vanquished; He is Victor and Lord.

In my opinion, there’s not going to be any radar machines in heaven. Down here, though I’m trusting in God’s grace, I’m trying to have a lighter foot on the accelerator.

The French police aren’t as merciful as the Lord.

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