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<< iPod Devotionals, with Dave Burchett

Fighting the law

  • 2011 Oct 18
  • COMMENTS

The posting of this week’s iPod Devotional was briefly delayed so I could fulfill my civic duty. Today was jury duty and I always approach that opportunity with mixed emotions. I am not a person who desperately wants to escape jury duty. I think it is a privilege and a fascinating chance to participate in democracy. But jury duty makes me a bit melancholy when I see the devastating power of sin.

Today I was chosen to a potential jury pool. Outside of several court venues I watched as well dressed attorneys huddled with their clients. Some of these sad souls were visibly frightened. Some seemed defiant and angry. Some were crying as they were comforted by friends and family. I wondered how they got to this sad place. What was their story? It was such a sad scene. I know that some are guilty and unrepentant. Others have made terrible decisions that will result in lifelong consequences.

I was so grateful to not be in that position of having violated the law. I remember the pit in my stomach when I received a warrant for my arrest a few years ago. Let me explain.

October 22nd in 2007 dawned sunny and pleasant in scenic Garland, Texas. I blissfully strode to the mailbox to retrieve my daily dose of catalogues, junk mail and bills. I sorted through the stack.

“No annual fee for 12 months” – Correct. I am tearing it up.

“A Special Invitation from Miracle Ear” – I don’t like what I can hear. No thanks.

“A Charming Way to Show off Your Cleveland Browns Pride” – After last Sunday??? How about therapy?

“A Special 14 Hour Sale Just For You” – I can’t be there. If it is just for me you can go ahead and cancel it.

And then the heart stopper.

WARRANT  ISSUED

Please be advised that Judge (I don’t want to make him mad), City of Waco Muncipal Court Judge, has issued a warrant for your arrest.

This got my attention.

This may be your last opportunity to pay.

This is Texas…that is a scary statement.

You also can be arrested at your work or home.

They would have a hard time finding me working but this is serious stuff!

My mind raced. I thought that this is going to hurt the very modest sales of my Christian books when I am cuffed and dragged off to the big house. The next thought was what the blazes had I done to be a wanted man? I called the City of Waco offices and gave them my case number (my first time to have a case number). I was thinking insanity would be my plea…witnesses would be no problem. The clerk informed me that my offense was actually a parking ticket picked up and ignored by my firstborn while he attended Baylor University. The car was registered in my name so I was guilty in the eyes of the state.  I could simply admit my (his) guilt, give them a credit card number, and avoid having a humiliating mug shot on file. She turned to the records to enter my payment.

“Oh wait,” she said. “This was paid in full in 1999.”

“So if I had been pulled over in Waco last weekend I would have been cuffed and jailed for an offense that has been cleared?”

“Sorry Sir, I will fix that.”

Later I thought how scary that notice was and I was innocent! I can’t imagine the fear I would have experienced had I been guilty and received that warrant.

I remembered a song from the Bobby Fuller Four about fighting the law. The song talks about a young man who ends up in prison for his bad choices.

(A') Breakin' rocks in the ... hot sun
I Fought the Law and the ... law won
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

I needed money, 'cause I ... had none
I Fought the Law and the ... law won

It made me think of another life experience where I fought the law. As I examined God’s Word I realized that I could not keep the law and live a sinless life that would allow me to be declared innocent in front of a Holy God. For a while I fought the law, and the law won. But I realized I could never reconcile with a Holy God on my own merit. James says if you break one part of the law you have violated all of it.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10, NIV)

I had not just stumbled on one point. I had broken large chunks of the law. But when I read further I found out something very interesting. My debt had been paid in full over 2,000 years ago. Even though I had incurred the debt it was paid in full by Jesus. I would not get a notarized copy from a county clerk but I would get the reassuring presence of the Holy Spirit. If I was terrified to face the City of Waco what would it be like to face a Holy and Righteous God with a sin warrant that had not been paid?

I will never know. My debt has been paid by Jesus. If your warrant is still active may I encourage you to get it cancelled? Jesus fought the law and won.

Paul said it beautifully to the Church in Rome.

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. (Romans 6:14, NLT)

You don’t have to fear the condemnation of the law and sin. Accept the gift of grace. Your debt has been paid and you can live in freedom. Why wouldn’t you?

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