I was driving too fast late one night when I saw the flashing lights of a police car in my rearview mirror. As I pulled over and rolled down the window of my station wagon, I tried to dream up an excuse for my haste. But when the patrolman reached the car, he said nothing. Instead, he merely shined his flashlight in my face, then on my seven-months pregnant wife, then on our snoozing 18-month-old in his car seat, then on our three other children, who were also asleep, and lastly on the two dogs in the very back of the car. Returning the beam of light to my face, he then uttered the only words of the encounter.
“Son,’ he said, “you can’t afford a ticket. Slow down.” And with that, he returned to his car and drove away.
Did the man deserve a ticket? Certainly. He was guilty of breaking the law and should have been expected to pay the consequences. The law was created for the safety of that man’s family and everyone else on the road. If everyone is allowed to travel past the speed limit, there would be many more accidents and loss of life on the highways. The law is good, and fair and right.
But sometimes mercy triumphs over the law. So it is for sinners who call out to Jesus.
We are guilty of sin and deserve to pay the consequences of eternal separation from God. God’s laws are for our protection and made to make our lives better for us and for those we love. God’s law is good, and fair and right.
But we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory. If it wasn’t for the mercy of God, the law would condemn each and every one of us. Thanks be to God for His merciful gift of salvation through our faith in the only One who always obeyed God’s law, our Savior Jesus. Because of Him, mercy triumphs over the law and we are saved by the grace of God.
Let’s look for ways to extend that grace to others, not excusing sin, but offering hope through the One who gives us victory over our sin.