I have a terrible confession to make. I drive over the speed limit most of the time….there it’s out, and now you all know my darkest secret. We travel allot and I tend to set the cruise at 75mph on the expressway. I do this because there is an unwritten understanding between drivers and cops, 5 to 10 over will get you a pass but anything over 10 you are at risk of getting stopped. A person might be danger of receiving a $75 ticket on their way to a Good Friday service if they went too fast. (Confession #2) Jesus showed me grace and mercy on that Good Friday but unfortunately the officer did not.
I grew up around conservative Christianity but was totally confused about what a Christian was. Christian home, Christian churches, Christian education, Christian culture, Christian this, Christian that, was nothing more to me than a speed limit that I continually exceeded in life. Sammy Hagar rocked out a song in the 80’s called, “I cant drive 55” and I felt like keeping the “Christian” speed limit in life was impossible. You know what? I was right and I didn’t even know it.
There was picture painted for me that I was confused by in the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. Evangelicals set the rules of conduct with all the do’s and the don’ts and I made efforts to conform to their image, but my square peg never fit into their round hole. What I know now and didn’t know then was this, “For by the works of the law NO HUMAN BEING will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:30) I think back to those days and wonder if I ever heard a message about grace. I am sure I did but not to my recollection. I just remember all the set rules and speed limits. Thankfully the true message of grace pierced my soul and I was redeemed by Jesus.
My spiritual birthday is in a couple of weeks, I was born again on February 5th 1996. 20 years of the abundant life is behind my back now and the longer I am in the faith the more I realize I am still exceeding the speed limits. The more I understand scripture (the law of God) the more I realize I need grace everyday. Confession #3, I am still a filthy habitual sinner who cannot keep the law of God but thankfully my sin is no match against the grace of God. Paul says, “Now the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20) This is good news if you are a sinner. If you say your not a sinner then you just lied, which is a sin, and now your in the same boat with me. Welcome aboard! (1 John 1:10)
20 years ago I entered into a, “no condemnation” relationship with Jesus, I am fully clean in the eyes of God because of the imputed righteousness of Christ on my behalf. (Romans 8:1) He took my sin and I received his righteousness. This truth scares the pants of of some Christians so they become heavy on law and externals and create a plastic faith without depth, hence all my past confusion about the faith.
Then there are those Christians or “Christians” who see the forgiveness of Christ as a free pass to live as they choose to live because of grace. These are often the people who see God as love but not as a just judge over sin. Paul answers this issue, he said, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means.” (Romans 6:15) Anybody who truly loves Jesus Christ will not have this attitude.
20 years ago Mike Fekete died and a new Mike Fekete was born. I was enslaved to various passions and lusts, I was breaking the speed limits that God had posted in my heart but I ignored them. God pulled me over and offered me grace to cover my sins and set me free from my debt. In 20 years of walking with Jesus I have learned that his law is in place for my good and I am commanded to obey it. Yet I don’t, and this is why I need grace for today, I am in process- he’s still workin’ on me. But I love him too much to treat lightly his grace and mercy.
When I was young I was shown a Christian rulebook that frustrated me, I couldn’t keep the rules so I quit trying. I was a slave to sin. I got caught breaking the law and had to enter traffic court and stand before God the Judge, I was guilty. God waived the penalties and set me free by his mercy and grace. When I stood from my knees on the February evening in 1996 I became a liberated and un-condemned man when I left his courtroom. Court is adjourned and his verdict is final, I am not waiting for death to be judged, he has judged us all already. (John 3) Now I live for him who died for me and am careful not to tread over his grace by sinning against him. Praise God for his boundless grace!
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23)