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Wednesday-Lawbreaker



If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.


Galatians 2:18


I don’t know about you, but I’ve only had to appear in court before a judge twice. The first was for reckless driving in my teens when I swerved to hit someone. Just so you know, that’s all I’m going to say about this for now. The other time was much later for driving with an expired car registration.


Just so you know, I was in the wrong both times. There was no doubt about what I’d done. The first was on purpose. I had the steering wheel in my hands and no one had a gun to my head or their foot on the gas. I was not out of my mind on drugs or anything else.


Driving with an expired registration was a little bit different. We had rented a house when we moved to Florida. That’s the address I used when registering our cars. Months later we moved into our house and settled down into our new life.


Now, I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think much about updating the registration on our cars. I live with the assumption that the state government is much more interested in collecting my money than I am to send it in. It’s up to them to remind me about it. To ask me for it.


Anyway, the registration renewal got lost in the move and I just forgot about it. That is, until a sharp-eyed police officer in the next town noticed that the registration had expired. They pulled me over and explained what was wrong. I thanked the officer and was happy to pay the fine. That’s when it got a little bit more interesting.


You see, the registration was so overdue that I could be fined up to $500 with 60 days in jail. That really got my attention. The idea that I could be sent to jail because my car didn’t have that little sticker on it was shocking. But sanity prevailed. I appeared before a judge and explained my predicament. He was more than kind. Yes, there was a fine to be paid, but I was thankfully sent home.


Sitting in those courtrooms I knew that I was guilty. There was no doubt about it, I was a lawbreaker. And then having to stand in front of a judge who was going to decide what was going to happen next in my life was really scarry.


We don’t like to think of ourselves as lawbreakers. That's other people. Those people on the other side of the law. We’re pretty good, not like those lawbreakers over there. Most of the time I’m a law keeper. That should make God happy to have me on his team.


But the truth is that we’re all lawbreakers. Each and every one of us. We’ve broken God’s very simple and eternal laws. We haven’t loved the Lord of God with what he deserves. With all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind. And we haven’t loved our neighbor as ourselves[1].


And as lawbreakers, we’ve got to appear before the judge. We don’t like to think about God like this, but it’s part of who he is. It’s part of his eternal person. He’s given us so very much and we treat him like a bad habit. We turn our heads and lives away from him. We ignore and abuse his lovingkindness. We joke at his mercy. We curse him when we don’t get out way. Is it any wonder that God calls us lawbreakers?


Is it any wonder that we couldn’t make ourselves better? Or that we couldn’t pay for our own sin? This is exactly why God had to do it for us. He had to pay the eternal payment himself.


Think about it this way; our sin and disobedience was against God. So, our sin debt was owed to God. Anything that we tried to do was going to come up very short. In Jesus, God himself came down and paid our debt back to God. To himself.


Paul says that we are justified in Christ. It’s God’s solution to the problem that weighs us down each and every day. So, do we want to keep trying to justify ourselves? Or are we ready to let go and let Jesus justify us? It’s there for the asking. But you need to ask for it. Receive it.


Because we’re lawbreakers, we also want to be law-fixers. We want to somehow come up with a way to fix ourselves without any help from anyone. Or, another way to think about it is that we want to be law-payers. We want to save up the pennies from our good works to pay off the billions we owe to God.


Friends, neither of those solutions is going to work. We haven’t got the power to pull it off. Our sin continually gets in the way and takes us away from the God who loves us. That’s exactly why God had to step in and make the eternal payment we owed him.


Now is the day to realize the truth that we are lawbreakers. Not someone else. Us. You. Me. And we’ve earned the punishment by our continual rebellion against the God who made us. Who deserves all our love and affection. Who’s earned all our worship and praise.


As a fellow lawbreaker, someone who was so far away from God that I wasn’t even in the stadium. Heck, I wasn’t even in the parking lot. Today’s the day to turn towards Him.


Noodling Questions


  • Why is it hard to think of ourselves as lawbreakers?

  • What’s the harm of just staying a lawbreaker?

  • Why would God want to pay the price for our being a lawbreaker?

[1] Mark 12:30,31

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