As I was checking out my books at the library, I dug in my wallet. The librarian asked, “Are you getting the money to pay your $0.20 fine?”
I replied, “I sure am.” After all, I wanted all the benefits of the library without any of the guilt of a fine.
“It’s always the people who have a $0.20 fine who pay, and the ones with the $80 fine don’t,” she laughed.
Admittedly, a $0.20 library fine is a pretty small thing, and the consequences of returning your library book late are minimal. But a relationship with God isn’t like the library. The consequences of the most minor infraction are eternally serious: “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).
With God, though, I can’t just dig in my wallet and pay him for my sins. I can’t do enough good things to make up for even the smallest bad thing I did, because even one sin separates me from him.
That’s why God sent Jesus, because I can’t fix it, and neither can you. We needed someone to pay the fine for our sins. And Jesus did all of that, all for us. Now we get all the benefits of a relationship with God with none of the guilt.
P.S. If you have an $80 library fine, talk to your librarian. Many will forgive late fees and welcome you back. Just like Jesus does every day.