I got my drivers license the day I turned 16 and got a car soon after, a 1980 Chevy Monza 4 on the floor, with a dent in the rear quarter panel. I made many trips up and down Mississippi Blvd picking up and dropping off my buddy Pat Roddek.
Mississippi Blvd in Coon Rapids has a 30 mile per hour speed limit and one day a cop pulled me over for going 53 miles per hour – 23 MILES PER HOUR OVER THE SPEED LIMIT. Just to put that in perspective, 30 miles per hour over the speed limit is automatically reckless driving, which can result in loss of license and in some cases jail time. After a stern warning, the cop let me go – no ticket.
You would think I would have learned my lesson.
But less than a week later, on the exact same road, in almost the exact same location I was pulled over going 57 miles per hour. Not only did the cop give me a ticket, but he checked a box on the ticket which asks, “Were there dangerous conditions at the time of the infraction”. He should have checked that box because the road was icy and it was dangerous. That road is a 30-mph zone because it is very curvy and it is a residential zone, so yes, it was very dangerous conditions. Because he checked the box I had to appear in front of a judge.
I share this story with you because I want you to consider this question, should I have been given a ticket? What if I was only going 47? What about 37? What about 31?
If we are abiding by the law, which is the posted speed limit, 57, 47, 37, and even 31 are deserving of a ticket.
This leads to the world’s biggest problem. We think that going one mile per hour over the speed limit is no big deal, and the reality is, in our culture, going 35 in a 30 is no big deal. Even most cops will not waste their time pulling you over for going 35 in a 30.
But by God’s Law, if we are guilty of one infraction of the Law, we are guilty of breaking the whole Law. If we have lied, we will be guilty in God’s Courtroom. If we have stolen anything, regardless of its value, we are guilty. If we have dishonored our parents, guilty. If we have used God’s Name in a profane or dishonoring way, guilty. That is just to name a few of the infractions that would have us standing guilty in God’s courtroom.
Last week I asked you to consider, “if we are saved, what we have been saved from?”
The answer is NOT sin. The answer is, the consequences of sin. One sin leads to a guilty verdict and has the consequence of suffering under the Wrath of God for eternity. So, if a person has been saved, they have been saved from the Wrath of God, which He has said is coming for the disobedient, the ungodly, the sinner.
The world is called to believe this, but most do not. That is why they must repent. Repent in the Greek is the word metanoia, which means, “change of mind”. Consider this, when your mind changes, everything changes. For example, if you are in a movie theatre with your friends, enjoying your popcorn before the movie starts, and someone yells, “FIRE!”, and you become convinced that there is a fire, your priorities have changed. You no long consider the popcorn and the movie top priority, but instead, getting out of that theatre safely has become your priority. Your mind changed and everything changed. For the one sitting in that theatre and is not convinced, but instead thinks the person that yelled “FIRE” was doing a stupid prank, they will not move but instead will laugh and mock those that have fallen for the prank. To ignore God’s warnings would be sillier than this person sitting in the theatre as it fills with smoke, yet will not change their mind, they refuse to repent.
So, what do we need to repent of, what do we need to change our mind about?
The severity of our sin. Your sin is a very big deal. There is a consequence for your sin. There is a debt that must be paid, and we instinctively know that, just as we can rightly discern that I deserved to get a ticket for going 57 in a 30 under dangerous conditions. A person that will not change their mind regarding the severity of their sin will sit in that smoky theatre until it is too late.
The other thing we need to change our mind about is the holiness of God. He is perfectly Righteous, and He cannot have any unrighteousness in His presence. He has made it clear that all sin, and all sinners, must be punished under His Wrath. Not because He is a mean, angry God. Our problem is not that God is mean and angry, our problem is that God is Righteous, He is Holy, He will judge correctly as a Good Judge should.
If God has opened your eyes to see this Truth, if you now see sin for what it truly is, and you now see God for who He truly is, there is Good News.
God sent His Son to this earth, born of a virgin, He lived a perfect life, and He suffered a brutal death on the Cross where He bore the sins of the world and suffered under the Wrath of God to satisfy our sin debt. He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day, defeating sin and death. It is not that God ignored your sin, it is a corrupt judge that ignores sin. God did not ignore your sin. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, became sin, your sin was placed on Jesus as He hung on that Cross. God the Father poured out His Wrath upon His Son, so your sin is not ignored or swept under the rug, your sin debt was paid for by the precious Blood of Jesus.
So, what must we do?
John 1:12 But to all who did receive Him, who believed in his Name, he gave the right to become children of God,
We must become children of God, we are not born children of God, we must become children of God. We must believe in the Name of Jesus, that means you believe who He is, what He said, and we must trust in Him alone to save us from the Wrath we deserve.
When you do that, you are given the perfect righteousness of Christ. When you do that, you will be made right with God, you will be justified as the Word of God says:
Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his Blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the Wrath of God.
The Bible calls this “being born-again”. When this happens, we are made new, God’s Word says that “he who is in Christ is a new creation”, we no longer live for ourselves, we live for Jesus – we love the things God loves, and we hate the things God hates:
1John 1:6-7 If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Romans 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Call on the Name of Jesus to save you. You do not need anyone to pray with you, or for you, to receive Jesus; on your own, with a sincere heart call out to Him, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Begin your life long journey to knowing God more through His Word, through prayer, and through the fellowship of other believers.