Breaking the Law
“The bearer of this card is an immediate family member of a police officer. Please extend all courtesies.”
I was pulled over once by a police officer. I saw him turn around and follow me. He hadn't turned his lights on yet, but I started to get nervous. I am sure many of you have had that same feeling. You straighten up. You put your hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. You make sure you are following all the rules from that point on as long as he is behind you.
Then the lights come on and you know he has got you for something. Even if you don't think you did anything, there is something the officer will get you for.
So what was my crime? Was I speeding? Was I not wearing my seat belt? Did I run a stop sign? No. I had been driving without a current insurance card and my registration had expired. I had lost track of when it was due because that was a very busy year for us.
So the officer knew this coming up to my car but still asks “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Then he asks for the usual paperwork. I hand him my license, an expired registration, an expired insurance card, and a PBA car. If you don't know what a PBA card is it is a card that is issued to you by a police officer, usually a friend of a family member, that says to extend all courtesy to the bearer of the card. I so happened to have had this card given to me by my brother in law who is a K9 officer. It also happens to be a gold card that police officers who have been on the police force for several years have the privilege to give to family members.
So, I hand the officer all of this information. He asks how I am related to the officer who gave me the card and if he is active or retired. He goes to his vehicle to run my information then comes back. I am waiting for a ticket of some sort because I know driving without registration is serious as well as not having a current insurance card (even though I did have insurance but just didn't have the card).
He tells me I am very lucky I have that card and says go home and park this car right now and get the registration taken care of right away. He told me he should have the car towed right there but he did not do that. He extended me mercy. I could have gotten a pretty big fine that day but I did not. I was given a break. Again, the police officer was merciful to me.
Why did I receive mercy that day? I broke the law. I drove without proper registration for my vehicle. I did not have a current insurance card. The law requires these things. There is a penalty for not having this paperwork with me as I drive. But the officer said, “you may go.”
He let me go all because of this little PBA card. I was treated with mercy because I had a card. I was actually treated as if I was the man who gave me the card. I was treated with the courtesy that this officer would have shown his fellow officer who gave me the card had he made the mistake and been pulled over that day. My brother in law would have received mercy.
Breaking the Law of God
I tell this story because we have all broken the law. The law of a holy God is broken by all every day.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
We all deserve the book to be thrown at us. We all deserve a just punishment. We all deserve hell. But it doesn't have to be that way. You see, just as I was treated by the officer as if I was my brother in law, God can treat us as if we didn't sin. He can treat us as someone else. He can treat us as if we were His sinless Son. When we stand before Him, if we have trusted in Jesus Christ, we can receive mercy.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
But we must trust that Jesus lived a perfect sinless life. We must trust that He died for us. We must trust that He rose from the dead and is in heaven seated at the Father's right hand. And we must repent and turn from our sin. We must be found in Christ.
There is something else that is greater than mercy that we receive from the Father. The officer that day didn't give me a ticket. He did not give me what I deserve. That is mercy. If he came back to my car and said, “Look, I'm not going to give you a ticket and tow your car because I am going to treat you like a fellow police officer. And I am also going to give you a brand new car,” that would be getting something I don't deserve. That would be grace.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
When we trust in Jesus Christ we not only get mercy we get grace. We are now part of the family of God with all the benefits of the Kingdom extended to us. We get all the promises and inheritance of the Son. We are treated as a true son or daughter of the King. We are seen as righteous forever and the Father will never let us go. This is because Jesus was treated as unrighteous and took the punishment for the sins of all who believe in Him.
This is what is different in my analogy. Although I was treated by the police officer as if I was my brother in law, my brother in law was not treated as if he was me. He was not given a ticket. He was not fined. His car was not towed. But I was treated with the respect he would receive.
But Jesus was treated as if He was me. He was crucified for my sins. He was crucified for your sins too if you repent and believe.
I am very privileged to have a PBA card from my brother in law. If you have one and used it you know what a relief it is to not get a ticket. It is even more precious to be covered with the blood of Jesus Christ and receive the grace of God. Turn to Jesus Christ and be found in Him today. Receive His mercy and grace now. You never know when the day will come when He will call you before Him.