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Devotional for 01/04/2014

My Ticket

"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
- 1 John 2:1-2

Recently I was given a speeding ticket after being clocked going eleven miles per hour over the speed limit. I was coming out of a speed zone that was ten miles higher and, unfortunately, I did not heed the warning signs.

This led me to appear in traffic court. Given the circumstances and my good driving record, there was a strong likelihood that my fine could be reduced. My two children were with me, and the courtroom was so full that we ended up standing in the back corner by the door. When the judge came out, he told everyone to find the officers who had ticketed them and try to make a deal to resolve their fines. My officer had many citations, so there was a line to speak with him. He seemed unmoved by the different pleas for leniency, and his standard offer was to take $100 off the fine—less than half of the total. When my turn came to speak with him, he offered me the standard deal. I began to make an argument for my case, but had to stop because I honestly did not feel justified; I was guilty as charged. So I decided to take the deal.

Eventually, the judge began calling names to settle the cases. After all but one other case had been settled, my officer came over to speak with me. He asked if I had any kind of hardship; he seemed like he wanted to have mercy on me! I answered honestly, “No, my husband is working and I have a part-time job. We are doing okay. I just want to make this right.” Soon it was my turn, and I walked up to the bench. Then the officer told the judge that I would not be fined! I was so surprised and thankful. I was guilty and should have paid. I only went to court to get the ticket reduced, but instead my debt was totally forgiven.

Through this experience, the Lord reminded me that a much greater debt I owed has also been forgiven. Like the officer who was able to pardon me, Jesus cancelled the penalty for sin that I should have paid. The penalty for our sins is eternity in Hell. That is not what Jesus wants, and so He paid our debt by dying for our sins. As the focus verse states, Jesus is our Advocate before the Father; He wants nothing more than to wipe the slate clean and let us go free! He reaches out to people while they have time to make things right. He pleads with them to repent and have their debt of sin totally forgiven. However, there will be no reduced penalties offered. If we have not settled our account in this life, it will be too late to do it in eternity.

I am so thankful that God made a way for us to be forgiven! I was guilty and a sinner, but God forgave me. Someday, I will stand before God and I will have Jesus on my side. May we all heed His call and get ready for Heaven, because Jesus is coming soon!