I can’t help but compare some things to my job. This past Sunday we sang a song in worship that is one of my favorite overall songs. Its called “Death Was Arrested” by Northpoint InsideOut. The words just reach my heart in a way that humbles me and reminds me of God’s big love. Then it hit me this Sunday…
I have heard the lyrics- I know the lyrics- of this song and yet this Sunday the word “arrested” was slap in my face. In my job I arrest people. I take them into custody and their freedom is no longer theirs. I have arrested people on simple charges and some big ones as well, getting them prison time. Now for a moment, follow my train of thought without overthinking it. Assume, for this, that all people who get arrested are guilty of something. Usually how people get out of jail, there is a bond to be paid. Depending on the crime (and history) determines the amount of the bond.
I couldn’t shake the word “arrested” from this song. The imagery was so convicting. I am the person in custody, without freedom because of my sin and wrongdoing. Sitting in a jail cell wondering if I’ll make bond. The price is heavy…I know my sin. I know what I have done. I think I will never be able to stop or change. But then, thats the amazing part of this story. My bond was not only paid, my sentence complete. Jesus paid it by taking my place.
Now in my job, we would think someone was crazy if they wanted to take the place of someone arrested. Yet is not God’s love crazy for us? He desperately loved us so much that Jesus took the punishment meant for our sin, our wrongdoing…our crime. He paid the debt and took the punishment that he did not deserve.
“…released my chains, I’m a prisoner no more…”
You see so many people leave the jail after making bond and return to the same mess that got them there in the first place. It can be super frustrating to see people continue to repeat terrible choices. Then again, don’t I do the same sometimes? God forgave my sin. Jesus died on the cross as my bond of sin and I was freed. I know that freedom is real. But how many times have I gone back to things or tried new things that were sinful and against God, much like the frequent flyers we arrest? How many times have I given God the opportunity to be disappointed, angry, frustrated by my behavior? And yet…how many times has God said “I love you and I will bail you out because you are worth fighting for”? He is disappointed, angry or frustrated. God’s love is incredibly insane. Its not logical to us. It doesn’t make sense, especially when I think of my job. Yet he loves us so much that he is will to prove his love for us time and again, not to enable us (unlike many I have dealt with at work), but to challenge us to stop the cycle and to change and to just let his love overflow our hearts.
And thats the difference. When someones’s debt has been paid- a debt that they were stuck in, drowning in, ready to give up in- that changes a person. I see my life and the misery and shame I was stuck in when I lived my way, in my sin. And I see the freedom I have in Christ- the chains released and bond paid- I am humbled that God would give me such grace. I am convicted of his tremendous love for me.
We are free. We can choose to remain free. We don’t need to return to the things that got us into the mess and arrested and lacking freedom. He loves you far beyond what you think you are worth. He paid for your freedom to start new, start fresh, and live free- truly free. No trial, no further sentence, no probation or parole. Free- a clean slate- because he not only loves you, he knows the potential for the future you have when you let him lead your life and when you live for him, not for that mess you were once stuck.