20 February 2012
No, I am not describing the demeanor of the policeman, but rather the town in which the officer serves. More about that later.
This past weekend (February 18-19), Cindy and I traveled to First Baptist Church in Hibbing. I was their guest speaker at a Valentine's Banquet on Saturday night and then I also spoke in the services on Sunday.
The banquet was a delightful time. The meal was superb and the moderator for the evening, Randy Lehman, kept us in stitches as he told many humorous stories. Special music was provided by Ben and Amanda Stevens. I had previously given their social committee a few topics of messages which I have used before. Frankly, I was a bit shocked when they were excited about the subject, "What Kind of Lover Are You?" We looked at some negative loves that are found too often in many people's lives.
On Sunday, I finished that same message from the banquet, but we looked at the positive loves which a believer should have. Later in the evening I gave a report on the MARBC and Bass Lake Camp. We also looked at some marks of a well-balanced church from Acts 14.
First Baptist in Hibbing has Greg and Sheila Stevens as their pastoral family. What a delightful time we had staying in their home. We even had cookies for breakfast on Sunday! (Ask them about that!) Brother Greg and I have many similarities in our lives, including being native Hoosiers, suffering from periodic back issues, very similar likes in dislikes in food, plus much more. But above all, the Stevens (and their dog Sterling) are such gracious hosts and it is always a joy to be with them.
Because I wanted to get home on Sunday night (or Monday morning in this case), we left as soon as the evening service was over. The trip was uneventful until I got to the Twin Cities. Because US 169 was closed at the 494 interchange, I had to go a different route. Without going through all the details, I will tell you that at 11:30 at night we found ourselves going through the communities of Burnsville and Savage on MN. 13. We were low on gas, and since gas was considerably cheaper in the Cities than in our area, I wasn't paying close attention to my driving. I was busy looking for cheap gas. I was very surprised to see a car pull out behind me from a side street and was even more surprised when that car became all lit up. Alas, I was caught.
When I saw the lights, I looked at my speedometer and noticed I was going 59 in a 55 zone. Admittedly, I was a bit fast, but I thought it was strange he was stopping me.
After all the "pleasantries" of asking my my driver's license and insurance, he asked me if I knew why he stopped me. I told him I was really puzzled since I was going 59 in a 55 zone. Evidently, there was a strip back by the gas stations where the speed limit was actually 45 and he mentioned I was going 62 at one point and eventually slowed down to 58. Wow! What could I say?
He checked my driving record with dispatch and found out that I was clean. (Whew! Not that I am a former felon, but just nice to know there was nothing on me!) He asked if I was familiar with the area (I wasn't) and he said he would just give me a warning (thank you!). He told me to be cautious of an upcoming road construction area where the speed limit was once again 45.
I didn't get home until nearly 1:30, but that stop certainly kept me awake and got me thinking as I traveled the rest of the way home. What was I thinking about?
First, I was definitely guilty of the law even though I didn't think so at the time. Doesn't that sound like a lot of people today concerning their accountability before a holy God? Most people think they are good and obeying God's laws. While they may admit they aren't perfect, they feel they are definitely better than others and not worthy of condemnation. They have no clue they are depraved and have fallen so far short of God's glory (Romans 3; Eph. 2:1-10).
Second, I experienced a pardon due to the graciousness of the officer. No doubt that I was guilty, but he allowed me to go on because of no past record and ignorance of the area. I was reflecting upon the fact that the sinner is pardoned when he receives Christ as Savior. That pardon has several rich theological truths in conjunction with that experience of salvation.
Whereas I, the traveler, was still guilty and "condemned" for my crime with no punishment or penalty to pay for my release, it is much different for the born again believer. Jude 24 reminds us that the believer is presented "FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory." Imagine that! The sinner who has received Christ is not just innocent, not simply blameless, but faultless! That fits so well the truth of justification (Ro. 5:1). Justification is a declaration that the sinner is not simply innocent ("just as if" he never sinned), but absolutely righteous through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Today I am thankful for a "Savage cop" that gave me a warning instead of a ticket. But more importantly, I am eternally grateful that as a sinner, a Savior paid the price necessary to redeem me from my sin and impute His righteousness to my account so that I am faultless and absolutely righteous in my position in Christ. Thank you, Lord!
Oh yeah, and from now on I will pay closer attention to the speed I am traveling, especially while on unfamiliar roads.