"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"
- Romans 8:32
In 2012, a Plano, Texas law enforcement officer cited Hayden Carlo, 25, for an expired vehicle registration. Carlo freely confessed that he didn’t have enough money to update his registration; there wasn’t any left over after buying food for his kids. He was guilty as charged, and accepted the citation without incident.
However, that’s when things took a most beautiful turn. Opening the citation, Carlo not only saw the record of his guilt. He saw a crisp $100 dollar bill! The officer’s generosity covered not only Carlo’s registration, but his wife’s as well!
Amazed and relieved by the kindness, Carlo “broke down” inside his car. “What else can you do?” he asked.
The officer, a then 43-year-old father, asked to remain anonymous. The whole story probably would have gone unreported except that Carlo’s grandfather contacted the police station, and alerted the officer’s colleagues in an attempt to thank him.
I don’t know if that officer acted out of faith in Christ, but his behavior was indeed very Christ-like. On the one hand, he didn’t turn a blind eye to Carlo’s transgression; justice required punishment.
However, the officer didn’t simply leave Carlo condemned. Mercifully, he delivered him. At great cost to himself, the officer paid Carlo’s penalty, satisfying the demands of justice and freeing him immediately.
In the same way, God never minimizes or turns a blind eye to our sin. No sin goes unnoticed or unpunished - ever. Thankfully, Jesus willingly suffered the penalty that we deserved, in our place. At great cost, Jesus set us free.
How should the gracious and generous sacrifice of our Savior shape us? In reading Tim Keller’s excellent book, Generous Justice, I came across this quote from an old Scottish sermon. It’s very convicting, a beautiful reminder of how God’s generosity toward us makes us generous toward others.
Now, dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ. If so, you must be like him in giving…’Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor’…
Objection 1. ‘My money is my own.’ Answer: Christ might have said, ‘My blood is my own, my life is my own’…then where should we have been?
Objection 2. ‘The poor are undeserving.’ Answer: Christ might have said, ‘They are wicked rebels…shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels.’ But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost. He gave his blood for the undeserving.
Objection 3. ‘The poor may abuse it.’ Answer: Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.
Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving.
Child of God: Jesus gives much, gives often, and gives freely. He not only invites us to do the same; he empowers us for it. He’s generous to us that he might be generous through us. You can never give grace to others faster than our Lord bestows his grace upon you. You have an inexhaustible supply. So, don’t hold back. God sure doesn’t hold back his goodness when it comes to you!
You're loved. Don't forget it.
If you'd like to subscribe to All Things New, a workweek devotional, click here! You can unsubscribe at any time.