On Driving and Living—Doing What We Couldn’t Do

In my 30+ years of operating motor vehicles, I’ve been pulled over by police officers five or six times. That’s not terrible and fortunately, I never received a ticket for even one of those times. Even more fortunately, I was not pulled over on the many dozens of occasions when I would have certainly received a ticket based on the posted speed limit and the speed at which I was traveling.
Had I been pulled over one of those times when I was going, say, 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, I wonder if the officer would have changed the standard for me. Might he have said, “I’m going to the change the posted speed limit to 45 mph; therefore, you were not speeding and I won’t give you a ticket.” As much as I would have appreciated the officer’s grace and kindness, he would not, in fact, could not, change the standard. I supposed he could have written the ticket to himself or paid the fine on my behalf (i.e., met the standard for me), but he could not change the standard.
As in driving, so with living. God has a standard that all of us have failed to meet, whether or not we were “caught” violating that standard. And God will not, cannot, change that standard. And yet there’s still hope for us. Notice what we read in Romans 3:21-25:
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
We need righteousness to meet the standard, but we don’t have it. The good news is that God’s kind of righteousness has been made available to us as a free gift, if we believe in Jesus and what He did for us. Again, God cannot change His standard, but He can meet if for us. He did something about sin to break its power over us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue and redeem us, to pay the price that we owed but could never pay. He gives us the righteousness of Jesus and He changes us to fit the standard. We can now do what we couldn’t do.
I think I might go for a drive, but there won’t be any need to pull me over…
Troy Burns