A young man received a speeding ticket. He did not have the money to pay. The debt hung over his head. He knew if he was ever stopped that he would be arrested for this unpaid debt. He was careful to always keep the speed limit and drive perfectly. Unfortunately, no amount of good driving could offset his previous violation of the law. It always hung over his head. It was just a matter of time before it would catch up to him, and he would have to fulfill his obligation.
Fortunately, a rich and generous man befriended him and heard about his situation. Wanting to help, he offered to pay the young man’s debt so that he could finally be free from the penalty of violating the law. He explained to the young man that his own son had lost his life due to the reckless driving of others. While he loved and cherished the young man enough to give this generous gift to pay off the debts that the young man could never pay on his own, he insisted that the young man take a drivers' education class so that he could learn a better way, and he made the young man promise to try his best to always drive safely. The young man’s heart was touched by his friend’s personal story, compassion, and generous offer so he willingly agreed.
Maybe it was because of arrogance, rebellion, or dishonesty, whatever the reason, the young man did not keep his word and attend driving classes. He wasn’t really interested in learning those lessons. It was all a bit too boring and had way too many rules. It was in the young man’s nature to always chase a thrill so it wasn’t long before he was driving wilder than he ever had. He reasoned that if he ever got stopped, the rich benefactor would always take care of it for him.
One day, due to his reckless driving, he was in a terrible accident. He hadn’t spoken to his generous friend in weeks, but he needed him now more than ever. He called and left a message explaining that he would need his debt paid once again.
When his court date finally arrived, he marched in boldly. To his surprise, the rich man was not there to pay his penalty this time. Still lacking the necessary resources to pay his own debt, he was sent to jail.
At the first opportunity, he called his rich friend. The young man was quite upset. “You said that you could pay all my debts. You said that you loved me and wanted to help me. You said it was a gift.”
There was a pause before the rich man replied. “I loved you enough to pay your debt. I loved you enough to offer you instructions so that you would not continue in your reckless behavior. I loved you enough to warn you of the dangers to yourself and to others. I loved you enough that I made you promise to try your best. In fact, if you had simply made mistakes or even violated the laws, I would have still paid your price. I had the resources and offered it all as a generous gift. You did not have to earn it. However, you did have to be willing to receive it. You had to receive the payment, the instructions, and the challenge to commit. When you willfully rejected what I offered by intentionally breaking the law, intentionally disregarding my desires, intentionally rejecting the opportunity to be taught, and intentionally doing things your own way, your actions loudly declared that our friendship, my sacrifice, and the opportunities that I offered were of little value to you. You abused me and my gift. It would have been better if you had never received anything from me. Now you will pay the full penalty."
A. All have sinned - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23 (KJV)
B. Sin is a transgression of the law - "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4 (KJV)
C. The penalty is death. - "For the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23 (KJV)
D. No amount of good works or keeping of the law can atone for past sins. The penalty must be paid.- "a man is not justified by the works of the law" Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
E. Christ paid the price for us by dying in our place. - "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (KJV)
F. The gift of redemption through Christ is an undeserved gift of grace.- "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" Romans 3:24 (KJV)
G. Grace not only saves us from past sins, it also teaches us how to live a better life. - "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" Titus 2:11-12 (KJV)
H. We are freely saved and taught by grace, but we are expected to obey. - "By whom we have received grace…for obedience" Romans 1:5 (KJV)
I. God forbids us from continuing in our lifestyle of sin. If we reject him and serve sin, the end result is death. - "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Romans 6:14-16 (KJV)
J. While there is enough grace to cover the sins of the entire world, we will fail grace if we don’t pursue holiness. - "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God" Hebrews 12:14-15 (KJV)
K. Continuing to intentionally sin abuses grace and will result in judgment. - "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:26-31 (KJV)
L. It would be better to have never known the Lord than to reject His sacrifice and grace. - "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." 2 Peter 2:20-21 (KJV)