There is an old saying that at the end of the game the king and the pawn go back in the same box. I like this a lot. Apparently a chess idea, that while things appear different, they are so very much alike. Death cares not for status, wealth, opinion, fame, nor feelings. Death is brutal. Death is the ultimate act of honesty.
Death, that great equalizer! for which unbelief has no answer. Earth receives her king, and pawn, not caring what goes deep into the real estate known as dirt. Dirt is so impartial to he whose time has come. Unto dust shalt thou return, and oh how we cling to this dirt while we swear God is not. Not too smart.
But none can escape the payment due from those wages we earned, simply by our membership in the human race. That is the fact of life. Ah but there was One who paid those wages, as my account reads ‘insufficient funds.’ But why? What is wrong with the wages we earned?
Nothing. Everything. If God is out of the argument, then ‘nothing’ is wrong. Ah, but if the Creator is allowed into His own world, then ‘everything’ is wrong, but all can be made right. And this is the ultimate law of return that speaks to the grace of God: the Judge of all the earth will do right. He can do nothing less, as He knows perfectly the thoughts and intents of our hearts.
An account was told regarding a Russian guard on night duty who had fallen into disrepair, and was contemplating ending his life with a bullet. Making notes on a scrap paper of all his ‘burdens and bad deeds,’ which cost him family, health, peace of mind, and insurmountable financial problems, he fell asleep with the bottle and handgun while at his desk, but not before he scribbled a question: ‘who can forgive such a great debt?’ A fine question.
Every so so often Czar Nicholas would make his rounds, inspecting this and that, when he ran across a helpless commoner asleep, and picked up the paper. He knew what could have easily transpired next, and felt pity for the workman. He reached in his pocket and answered the mans plea with one word: ‘Nicholas!’
Upon waking, the despondent soldier saw the writing, and put two and two together. He knew he could have been fired for negligence while on duty, but wondered if it could possibly be true. Who could forgive so great debt? Yes, Nicholas could, but is this true?
He sought out the czar, and asked if in fact, this was his handwriting; of course it was, and of course the czar kept his word, and had delivered payment in full for all the mans needs. Need I say here was now a new man as it were.
So it is, you and I have earned wages of a different sort. We are not aware of the egregious nature of character defects; we wink at sin and excuse our deceit as if it were a couple of playful otters in the water. We have joked about the origin, nature, and destiny of sin. We have not contemplated entirely this strange thing aka death.
But there is One greater than Nicholas; yea rather, there is One by whom holds all things together because His word is good. Contrast the goodness of God against the wages of sin. Gifts are wonderful things; they come unexpected, they bring delight, and the heart of the giver is revealed, for WHY should we be on the receiving end of that which is completely undeserved?
Ah yes, and therein is the essence of the gospel narrative: for while we were enemies………Christ died for the ungodly. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift. And oh, btw, if you have any doubt that man is ungodly, just think about the men who said the boy should have been shot dead instead of the gorilla in the zoo……..just think about the bastard killers who bomb people on their way to work on a bus…….just think of the ease in which people lie, steal, and defame good people; just observe the beastiality by men and women…… just consider the character assassination of believers by people who cite them as brain dead………but no, no sin here eh……….open your eyes to see the sad state of affairs in the hearts of men.
And consider Nicholas who could forgive great debt, but better still, consider He who has also justified the wages of Nickolas. He is able and quite worthy.