Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It Isn't Enough.

Scenario: You leave your wallet full of credit cards on a restaurant table. It is found by an unscrupulous waitress, who goes to the mall with it. She maxes it out in an amazingly short time buying clothes and jewelery. Your credit limit has been reached. You discover your wallet missing, and report the loss too late for the card. But the waitress is caught, and she, by borrowing and selling and returning, is able to pay the bill. Your credit card company clears your record and rating. The debt is paid and your credit rating restored. The waitress goes free.

Wait a minute...the waitress goes free? What's wrong with this picture?

Well, why not? She made good on the debt, didn't she?

But she stole. That's breaking the law!

What's the big deal? Isn't it enough that she paid you back?

No, sorry! She broke a law of the land. There's still justice to be served! Is it OK to steal if you just pay back, eventually?

This is the big deal with sin. There's a violation against something bigger than property and commerce. It's a violation against law-- God's law...that God set down Himself, that mere restitution does not satisfy.

If I set myself a limit (I will not eat any chocolate today... ha, fat chance!), this law is satisfied if I run two miles to off set the chocolate I broke down and ate. It was my law, and my law is a reflection of myself.

If society sets a law, that's something different, because the fact is that I am supposed to be in agreement with the laws of the land: I have submitted myself to them for the good of society. The offense is against something greater than myself, and so the penalty will be higher. I have sinned against civilisation.

If then, I sin against God, then the penalty is highest of all. If I defy God's laws then I have sinned against the Creator and King of the Universe, Who alone knows how this cosmos should be run. To defy Him is to defy the highest Authority of all, an Infinite Authority in the most basic and true sense possible. And what is the appropriate punishment for that? An offense against the Infinite and Eternal God requires an infinite and eternal punishment.

The only problem is that I can never pay it in full.

Despite what we like to believe, humans are immortal. Our souls are eternal. And the Scriptures tell us that to go with these eternal souls, we will all, someday, be given eternal, physical bodies. The question is really what will be done with those immortal, eternal bodies. Some will be raised to glory, says Scripture. The rest, to eternal torment which will never end-- because of the offense they gave to an eternal God. The debt cannot be paid.

Unless there is one who is also Infinite and Eternal to pay it for me. That One alone has the means to pay that debt:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ...There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...

Romans 7:24,25-8:1

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