I had a new experience at a local big-box grocery store this weekend.
When I carried my dozen or so items to the self-checkout aisle (Don’t get me started; this could be a completely different blog.), it took several frustrating attempts and a couple of long-awaited visits from a store employee, but I finally managed to correctly scan my items and get to the payment screen.
To my surprise, the store offered me a brand-new payment option: Cash, credit, debit, or – gift card.
Gift card? Wow! No one has ever given me a grocery gift card, but it would definitely be a very useful and appreciated present.
Later, after I made it through the self-checkout ordeal and after my blood pressure dropped back to normal, I started to think about those payment options in light of a recent email devotion from Love Worth Finding that discussed the imputation of our sins onto Christ.
That particular morning’s devotional writing included a vivid mini-lesson on Romans 4:5-8:
“However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.’”
As I read the short lesson, it caused me to stop once again and thank God for the salvation I received wholly because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. What a miracle of undeserved mercy and grace!
Way too often, I take the story of Calvary for granted. I go about my life, busily doing what I believe God has called me to do while forgetting the One who actually gave me this life. So I stopped that morning and paused to really reflect on His loving sacrifice.
After finishing the impactful devotional and its offered prayer, I skimmed down to read the tips offered for practicing the scriptural lesson in daily life. Every time I use my debit or credit cards, I am now challenged to remember the reality of God’s righteousness being put into my sin-depleted “account” through Jesus.
The realistic imagery of that lesson stuck with me. Maybe it’s because I am a visual learner or maybe it’s from my years of teaching literature, but the credit and debit card analogy was powerful. It stayed on my mind and slowly but surely sank into my heart.
And later, when I stopped and thought about my grocer’s new payment option in light of this analogy of salvation, it made me ponder the scriptures from Romans even more.
For the truth is, my own personal life’s account was emptied out and overdrawn a long, long time ago with the enormity of my past sins. I had accumulated a debt that I could have never, ever repaid – for I was a sinner, and I had no hope of ever being anything else but a sinner.
Then came Jesus!
His perfect, sinless sacrifice provided a way for me to once again be in right standing with God. In essence, Jesus covered my debts with His own blood. Through the sacrificial death of Christ Jesus, I received loving, merciful, gracious, and totally undeserved forgiveness from God.
It was a gift!
So, honestly, now when I go to the grocery store, I will definitely think of that powerful Love Worth Finding devotional from Chapter 4 of Romans. But I will also remember that my account is now fully rectified, for His righteousness has been credited to my account.
Therefore, I do not have to use a credit card and delay the payment of my sin. And I do not have to and cannot earn my way to the Father, so I have no need for a debit card either.
Better than that, I have a gift card bought and paid for by the Lord Himself. And best of all, my account will never run dry because it overflows with the shed blood of Jesus Christ – the spotless, sinless Lamb.
And to take this analogy a little bit further, when I get to the judgment throne of God and the time for eternal payment arrives, I will really only have one viable option.
Hallelujah! Thank You, God, for my gift card of blood-bought salvation.