The stealing had to stop. Deep in the heart of Russia, local police were on the lookout for a thief who got away with hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise. Neither the local businesses nor the residents could afford the losses or the increased prices any longer. The stealing became a federal crime. The Russian czar made the offense punishable by 40 lashes.

Police finally caught up with the crook and brought her to the Town Square, where she would be tied to a post to get 40 lashes. The czar came, along with hundreds of villagers from the city. But the czar recognized the woman’s face as that of his mother. Everyone looked at him to see what he would do. Would he pardon her, or would he make her pay the price for her crime?

The czar knew the crime had to be punished, but he also knew his mother could not survive 40 lashes. So he walked over to the post where his mother was tied and took off his shirt. He chose to take the lashes in her place and the people were touched.

Over 2,000 years ago, the world was guilty and condemned before God because of sin. We deserved to spend eternity in Hell, but God took our place through His Son on the cross. He didn’t just sweep our sins under a rug and pretend nothing ever happened. He didn’t say, “I’ll let it go this time—just don’t do it again.” Blood had to be shed. When Jesus died, He gave us something better than a pardon. He gave us redemption. Three days later, He arose from the dead as proof that His payment had been accepted by the Father. You and I can be completely forgiven for every sin we’ve ever committed or will commit if we just accept Christ’s free gift.

Friend, the price has already been paid for your sins. Accept Christ’s free gift today, and you will find complete forgiveness.

If you would like to know how to share this free gift with others, click here.

If man could have saved himself there would have been no need for the Son of God to come on Earth. Indeed, His coming is proof that people cannot save themselves. — M. Lloyd-Jones

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder