An article in Progress magazine reported that Billy Graham received a speeding ticket driving through a small town many years ago. He readily admitted his guilt, but was told by the police officer that he would have to appear in court.
Mr. Graham was asked by the judge, “Do you plead guilty or not guilty?” When Graham pleaded guilty, the judge replied that will be ten dollars – a dollar for every mile you went over the limit.
Suddenly the judge recognized the famous evangelist. “You have violated the law,” he said. The fine must be paid, but I’m going to pay it for you.” Then he took a ten dollar bill from his own wallet, attached it to the ticket, and settled the case. After court, the judge took Mr. Graham out and bought him a steak dinner. “That,” said Billy Graham, “is how God treats repentant sinners.”
God’s mercy has been extended to us because He didn’t give us what we deserve for our sins. He paid the penalty at the cross. But He didn’t stop there. He extended His grace by giving us what we don’t deserve – Divine life.
Many churches focus their evangelistic efforts on sharing the news that salvation means having our sins forgiven. But the complete gospel is even better than that! In His grace, God forgives us, then gives us an abundant life in Jesus Christ. Salvation isn’t only getting a man into heaven, but getting heaven into him!
Jesus Christ wants you to enjoy the fullness of being a Christian. Don’t settle for simply receiving forgiveness and anticipating your arrival in heaven one day. Your heavenly Father is rich in mercy and has forgiven your sins. Then He took a quantum leap forward even beyond that. He has given you the life of Jesus Christ and has seated you at His right hand. (See Ephesians 2:4-6). You have received every blessing in Christ (see Ephesians 1:3) and have the capability of living a lifestyle that is flooded by His goodness every day. Rest in His mercy. Know, without a doubt, that your sins are forgiven. Then revel in His grace by enjoying the Spirit-led party that the we know as “the Christian life.”