What Speed Limit?

I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened. ~Daniel 7:9-10

We read here in the book of Daniel of the day of judgment. What do you suppose is written in those books that Daniel saw being opened on that day? We know that one of the books is the book of life and that anyone whose name is not found there is thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). The other books are said to record the deeds of all people and that each person will be judged by the deeds recorded in these books (Revelation 20:12-13). This judgment is not only for the wicked. All will stand in front of God. Jesus Himself tells us that each man will have to account on the day of judgment for every careless word he has ever have spoken (Matthew 12:36).

Most of us have a difficult time imagining that we could have possibly done anything bad enough to warrant judgment. This is only because we do not have an understanding of the perfect holiness of a God who is so exacting that He knows the precise numbers of hairs on each of our heads, has named all the stars, and tracks every sparrow (Matthew 10:29-30).  God has designed a universe with rules so precise and so finely tuned to each other that if even one of these rules, say the strength of gravity or the strong nuclear force, were altered even slightly then the entire universe would cease to be able to support any life. We break God's laws, the rules that govern the machine of His creation, every day of our life and we are so used to it that we don't even notice. But, whether we notice or not, every action we make and every word that we speak is recorded.

To put it in terms that we can understand, imagine that every mile you drove was tracked and that each time you went over the speed limit it was recorded. Let's assume that each of us drives an average of 15,000 miles per year which was apparently the national average in 2008.  If half the time we went the speed limit and below and half the time we went above the speed limit (this seems generous to me) that would mean that we would spend 7,500 miles per year traveling over the speed limit. Over the course of a lifetime of driving (say a conservative 50 years) that would be 375,000 miles spent speeding.

Now, when we stand in front of the judge, the books are opened, and we are to account for each of those miles what the judge will not do is to give us credit for how often we actually went the speed limit. We are expected to go the speed limit. When standing before a judge, you don't get a reward for doing what you are expected and required to do, you answer for what you did wrong, in this case 375,000 miles of speeding. Assuming that on average we went 10 miles per hour over the limit and that the fine was $5 per MPH per mile. We would be fined $18.75 million dollars. Now that we have that fine, let's start looking at each time we failed to yield, ran a red light, neglected to use our turn signals, had one too many beers...  You get the point.

Every day each of us break God's laws and each little thing we do is recorded and, regardless of how many times we obeyed the law or how many good things we have done, we will have to answer for those laws that we broke. The penalty for each of these offenses is more than any of us can possibly pay or bear. But, before we despair, let us not forget the other book: the Book of Life.

Now imagine as you are standing in front of that judge faced with an impossible fine. You are left with no other choice than to be sentenced to a life in prison, forever separated from the life of freedom you were meant for. Imagine that someone enters the courtroom, marches straight up to the judge and lays down the entirety of the fine in cash. This person boldly states "This one is Mine!" He holds out His hand to you  and all that is required of you to gain your freedom is to accept the free gift of His salvation. This is exactly what Jesus did for each of us when He chose to come into His creation, live the perfect life, and die on the cross as a willing and perfect substitute for each and every one of us. All that we must do is accept this free gift.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) but there is one who has freely offered Himself as the sacrifice to pay fully for all of our sins. When the book of life is opened and your name is found written in it because you have accepted the free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus, the fine and the sentence is forever erased. Do you know Jesus personally? Are you certain that when the books are opened that, no matter what is found written in them, your name is written in the only book that matters?

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.' ~Matthew 25:34 

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