In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace… (Ephesians 1:7).
One of my favorite weekend activities growing up was riding my bike to the local arcade and blowing my heard-earned paper route money on video games.
We had a few different arcades in town, but my favorite was the huge one inside the mall. This arcade was not only the first place to play the latest games, it was the place you went to test your joystick skills against the best players in town.
But as much as I enjoyed beating other kids at Street Fighter II, my favorite activity was filling my pockets with prize tickets from the carnival style games. I’d dump quarter after quarter into Skee-Ball, the creepy shoot-out-the-clown’s-teeth-with-a-water-gun game, and of course, Whack-a-Mole.
The better you did at these games, the more tickets you earned. And the more tickets you earned, the more stuff you could buy from the prize counter.
These prizes ranged from single-ticket items like stickers and tattoos all the way up to a full-on Sega Genesis console for some ridiculously huge quantity.
But what would have happened if I went to the counter and attempted to redeem real money for the Sega Genesis? I’d probably be told to come back when I had enough tickets—the only currency they accepted there.
In a lot of ways, we do the same thing when we look at the junk in our lives and attempt to overcome it by being a better person. We look at the debt of sin we’ve accrued and hope that by going to church, doing good works, or being a “nice enough person,” we can tilt the balance sheet back in our favor.
But that’s not how forgiveness works in God’s eyes. You may as well be trying to buy your way into Heaven with arcade tickets.
The truth is, the only currency that can pay for your forgiveness is the blood of Jesus. It’s His blood that has the power to redeem you and provides forgiveness for your sins—not your ability to be a good person.
This is great news though, because once you realize your good behavior has nothing to do with you earning forgiveness, you can rest assured that bad behavior can never cause you to lose it.
Thankfully, God doesn’t dole out His forgiveness the way an arcade game distributes tickets—in small batches, and only if you win. He offers it to you solely as a gift of His grace.
Furthermore, He forgave all your sins the moment you put your trust in Christ.
You’ve been fully forgiven. You’ve been fully redeemed. Your debt has been paid.
So now, instead of trying to earn enough tickets to get to Heaven by playing Whack-a-Mole with your sin, you can relax and join Jesus over at the air hockey table—knowing that even if you lose, you will still be loved unconditionally, forgiven completely, and accepted fully.
This post is an excerpt from my new book, 52 Amazing Things That Became True of You the Moment You Trusted Christ. If you enjoyed what you read here, be sure to check out the book for 51 more awesome truths about how God sees you!