Back in my college days a couple of friends and I spent one spring break painting a house. It wasn't your typical take-it-easy spring break, but we all needed a little money and for financially strapped college kids the pay off was pretty good. So we took the job. We worked hard that week and when the job was done we all got our checks and raced them to the bank. After the deposit my balance hit a semester high. I was riding high until later that week I went to the ATM to make a withdrawal and was surprised to get the dreaded "insufficient funds" message!
I went to the bank to see what the problem was and after a little investigation the teller discovered the issue. The check had never been signed! It was an accidental oversight. The missing signature was not caught when I deposited the check so I assumed it had cleared but, after review, it hadn't. So there I was - back to my typical meager balance. An unsigned check isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. The money was never credited to my account.
Since then I've been a lot more careful to check the signature line of checks. And even though that was an honest mistake, as I have come into adulthood I've also become a lot more wary of scams and fine print and other tactics people use to make you think you’re getting a bargain but you're really not. I feel deceived when a promise is made but then reneged on. There are a lot of people like that. People who make promises but don’t come through. People who always find a loophole. People who don’t sign their checks.
Because of these negative experiences with people we sometimes project that same suspicion on God. God has promised to wash away our sins, to forgive us, to blot out our transgressions, and I really want to believe Him, but that suspicious side of me wonders if I have missed some fine print. A part of me fears that when I get to that great ATM in the sky I will be eternally disappointed by that dreaded "insufficient funds" message.
I've recently finished preaching through Romans 8, one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. Read it and I think you'll agree. There are so many great verses in that one chapter, but one of the greatest is the very first - "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." I've check the Greek and "no" means "no". I've look for fine print and can’t find any. I've cross-referenced this verse with other passages in the Bible to see if God has some loophole built in and I can’t find any. No condemnation means no condemnation. Others may go back on their promises, but not God.
Christian, we can be confident that on judgment day God is not going to pull out some old file with all our sins and use them against us. Christian, we can be confident that our debt has been paid by the blood of Christ. Christian, we don’t have to live with the guilt of the sins of our past.
Christian, the check has been signed. The funds have been deposited and credited to your account. You are forgiven and you can take that to the bank!