You know that feeling?

That “uh-oh” feeling, when you see the flashing blue and red lights in the rearview mirror.  You know in your heart whether you have done something wrong or where you failed and you pull over, put the car in park and get ready for the penalty that is certain to come. Your mind is going through all the scenarios of what this will mean and how much it will cost and you dread having to pay the price. But then…..the officer returns to your car with your information and states, “I’m going to let you off with just a warning today”.  Whew!  Relief! What a load off your mind. Now I’m guessing this doesn’t happen to you everyday (at least I hope it doesn’t) But when you think about what God has done, in a way, it does. When we realize what the law of God demands and what it expects of us, we realize that we have erred in some way, we have gone off course, broken the law. We know in our hearts that we deserve the penalty that is coming. However, then we hear the message of salvation through what God has done in Jesus Christ and it is that sweet relief from the weight of our sin. We won’t have to pay the price after all. Jesus has done it for us. He has taken care of our offense, so there will be no charges brought against us!  This is the difference between the Law and the Gospel. The Law convicts us, the Gospel frees us!  If we live in fear of the Law, we are still living as if sin has the victory. Our lives reflect this sense of impending punishment and it shows in how we treat others. However, when we live our lives in response to God’s love, we understand even God’s law as something that steers us to the right pathway, a warning, or better said, a reminder, that we tend to get on the wrong track. This makes God’s love visible and obvious. We don’t need to exist in fear of God’s wrath or judgement, because we live under the grace of the Good News. We can respond in joy by following where God leads and allowing our lives to reflect the incredible mercy that is poured out upon us. So, let us live in the light of the Gospel that saves us and respond with love to what God has already accomplished. Our salvation.