Along the route I drive home each day is a permanent speed trap. The speed limit is 60 Km/h and the trap has been neatly placed at the bottom of a hill to ensure as many unsuspecting victims as possible are caught.
Because it’s permanent, most drivers are aware of its location. These days our technology also knows where these traps are and we are warned well in advance to reduce speed.
Most motorists reduce speed from about 30 meters before the speed-trap. I’ve noticed that not only do they reduce their speed to avoid the 60 Km/h limit, they reduce it well below that, often to below 50 Km/h.
I have also noticed that almost as soon as they have left the trap-zone, they speed up to well over 60 Km/h.
The civil law requires constant surveillance – the human heart is an evil thing and when we know there’s no law-enforcement we start to beleive that there is no law.
Isn’t this how we are as Christians?
We convince ourselves that God is the same as our human, earthly law-makers and law-enforcement officials. We start to think that when we are being watched we should act as Christians. When no-one is around we can continue to act and behave as we please. We can easily forget the true nature of God, the omniscient Creator of the Universe who sees everything and knows everything. We can easily forget that we have no secrets with God, there is nothing He does not know or see. Our lives are on constant record. our actions are all recorded. Our thoughts are seen, even the secret thoughts, the secret imaginations and the secret fantasies.
God does not have selected places or times to take a photo of the transgression. We can’t slow down. We can’t avoid the record. God has set the bar, He has told us His standards and He has made it abundantly clear that as a righteous Judge He will Judge is according to His standards and to ours.
God’s standard is His Moral Law, the Ten Commandments. When we look at our lives and our conduct in the light of the Law, taking into account that Jesus reminded us that lust is adultery and anger is murder. When we are honest we come to realize that we are not good at all, we are desperate sinners.
There’s no explaining the transgression. When we stand in front of the Judge we can’t make excuses, we can’t explain ourselves out of our guilt and we can’t earn our release.
Imagine standing in front of a Judge who is about to sentence you because you haven’t paid your fines and you say to the Judge,
‘I’m so sorry, I won’t do that again’, or ‘I know that I’ve broken the Law but don’t forget that I give money to the poor and I helped an old lady to cross the road.’
Do you really think that will work? Will the Judge let you go because you say sorry or because you’re are a ‘good person’?
Of course not. If he did he would be a terrible Judge. A good Judge must find you guilty and ensure that you are punished.
Where to now?
The Bible tells us that the Law will be as a schoolmaster and bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). When we start to see our sin in reality, in the context of Gods Law we start to understand that we desperately need a Saviour. Our good deeds aren’t going to save us from Gods righteous judgement – we must repent and put our trust in Jesus Christ.
When we do that, when we are born again, God gives us a new heart, new desires, new tastes. We start to realize that filled with the Holy Spirit we can wage war against sin in our lives, we start to hate our sin and we start to love Gods Law. We start to want to follow the Law, to do what God wants us to do, to act and speak as He wants us to. We find that we have the Holy Spirit guiding, encouraging and inspiring us – we find new life in our dead bones.
The promise is that God will take our heart of stone and transform it into a heart of flesh.
We no longer have to ‘slow down’ when we believe someone is watching us, we know that God is always watching and we welcome His guidance, grace, mercy, loving kindness, discipline and encouragement.