When my friend, Kim, and I attended a conference in Illinois last week, we discovered something: tollways!
It’s not that we didn’t know about tollways, it’s just that Iowa doesn’t have them, and to us, they were unfamiliar. We decided that Illinois was a pretty decent state because they didn’t even arrest us for missing the first one. It was an honest mistake—really; first because we didn’t understand that we had to pull off and pay, and second because we got up SUPER early on Friday morning and drove in pelting rain and lightening.
In Iowa, we have freeways, which are, well, free. On freeways, one can drive for miles and miles without stopping (provided they did not go for the Big Gulp at the last Quik Trip). This seamless traveling provides for a pleasant journey.
In Illinois, Kim and I found out that we had to pull over to a toll booth every so many miles and fork out $.30, $.90 or even $1.90. The toll- takers never looked happy (I’ll bet their job takes a toll on them—get it—a toll?) and I was actually glad when certain signs said the next booth would be unmanned. On these unmanned booths, you just threw in some change and drove on. I wondered how fast I could drive through those and still hit the coin catcher, but I figured we had beat the odds once with our negligent tolling, so I decided not to experiment. It all seemed pretty inefficient to me—not to mention, bad for the gas mileage—this stopping and starting—and just as I was beginning to feel smug about my own toll booth-less Iowa, God shared some truth with me.
He said, “I paid your toll, you know. That’s why you have a free way.”
And I knew He wasn’t talking about Iowa roads; He was talking about my salvation.
It’s true. In the Old Testament, the godly had to continually sacrifice something living to “cover” their sin. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death”. The “wages” or “toll” that these people had to pay involved sacrificing a perfect animal again and again. This method of temporary sin “removal” was time consuming and cumbersome—kind of like us stopping at all the toll booths.
But when Christ came, He was the perfect “lamb” of God and His death on the cross not only covered our sin, but took it away completely so we could be freed from continual sacrifices. In essence, He created a Free Way for us to travel—no more stopping to pay for our sin.
Though we once traveled upon a tollway, through Christ, we now have a new way—a free way—because He is the only Way to God.
Hallelujah! You never know what you might learn on a road trip to Chicago in the rain.
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
1 Peter 3:18