Last week, I was having breakfast with a friend. After we had finished eating, we were sitting there drinking coffee and chatting. I looked at my phone to see what time it was, and I saw that my neighbor had called me. This was strange. My neighbor and I have a good relationship, but he wouldn’t be calling me randomly on a Tuesday morning. My first thought was that my house was on fire or something similar. I quickly called him back to see what was wrong.
This is how that phone call went:
“Hey man, I saw you called.”
He replied, “Yeah, the police are at your house.”
This was a shocking statement. I said the only word that came to my mind, “What?”
“There are five cop cars outside of your house right now,” he informed me.
I assumed that he was messing with me, but I played along. “Are you sure they’re at my house?”
“Yeah, man. One of them wants to talk to you. I’m going to give the phone to him.”
Then, I heard a new, authoritative voice. “Is this Kyle Smith?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
“This is Sergeant (I forgot his name) with the Putnam Co. Sheriff. Are you in the area?”
This wasn’t a joke. I told him, “I’m at Bob Evans.”
“Can you come home?” he asked me.
“Yes, sir. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” The trepidation in my voice must have been obvious.
“Good. I’d much rather have this conversation face-to-face. I think we can get this cleared up quickly.” Then, he hung up the phone.
I looked over at my friend and told him what was going on. We got up, paid the bill, and said our goodbyes. Then, I jumped in my car and headed home. My mind was racing. I called my fiancée to tell her the situation. After I talked to her, I spent the rest of the time praying and trying to figure out an explanation for what had to be a misunderstanding. I hadn’t committed any crimes. Was there some sort of mistaken identity? Did someone I know get hurt? Was I accused of something? All of these thoughts were running through my mind as my heavy heart sank in my chest, fearing the worst.
As I pulled up to where I could see my house, I saw the plethora of police there— five cop cars and double-digit cops. They were all wearing bulletproof vests. I pulled in, and, admittedly, I was afraid to get out of my car. Were they going to draw their guns on me? I had one, constant question flowing through my mind, “What in the world is happening?”
I stepped out of my car, sure to keep my hands visible. The sergeant approached me.
“Are you Kyle Smith?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
“Is this your house?”
I responded again with the same reply: “Yes, sir.”
His next question caught me off guard. “Have you had any work done on your water lines recently?”
A little confused as to why a slew of police would be at my house because of water line work, I told him, “Yes, I just had to have my septic tank worked on, and the water company is supposed to come out and replace a part. I’m not sure if they have.”
Then, he told me the real reason that he was there. “The water company called us and told us that someone has been dumping chemicals down the drain that are corroding their lines. The chemicals are correspondent with crystal meth. To be honest, you don’t look like a meth user, and this doesn’t look like a meth house.”
I assume that this was a compliment for my well-maintained roses.
I was flabbergasted at what I heard. I couldn’t believe that they would be at my house looking for a meth lab. At that point though, I was relieved. Even though I hadn’t committed any crime, at that moment, I knew for sure that this was a mistake. I knew that I was innocent. So, I invited them to search my house. Turns out, they didn’t need my invitation, but I thought it would be nice to offer. They gave my house a thorough look over. They searched cabinets, cupboards, closets, and even the back of my toilets. Obviously, they found nothing. They declared me clean, apologized for the inconvenience, and went about their day. It was quite the ordeal.
Although I was afraid of what the outcome was going to be, my confidence was restored the minute that I knew that I had for sure done nothing wrong. There was something powerful in knowing that I was innocent. The charges against me were serious, but there was never a doubt that I hadn’t committed a crime.
Did you know that we have access to that same confidence in our spiritual walk? Here’s the difference, we have committed crimes there. That is what sin is: the crime of not loving God and not loving others as we should, as is laid out in the Bible.
We are all guilty of sin. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We have all failed to live up to the standard set by God. Because of that, we all deserve to spend eternity separated from God. But, the good news is that Jesus came, died for us, and resurrected on the third day so that, through faith in him, we may be declared innocent. That’s what Romans 5:19 talks about:
Faith in Christ makes it so that we are declared clean. He took on the penalty of death that we deserved and offers us life instead— eternal life. Because our faith has declared us innocent, we should walk through this world with confidence. This doesn’t make us free to sin as much as we want, but it allows us to know that our sins will not be held against us when we do stumble. In my situation, I know that my freedom was not at risk when I knew the crime levied against me. The same is true for all who have placed their faith in Christ. It doesn’t matter what sin we’re accused of because Jesus went to the cross for it already.
Martin Luther once said:
So when the Devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and Hell, tell him this: “I know that I deserve death and Hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God.
That’s the confidence that we can have in our faith. We have been declared righteous; nothing can ever take that away. So, the next time that you are confronted with your sin, be reminded that Christ went to the cross for that very reason. Yes, we should ask for forgiveness, but let us not forget that his forgiveness flows just as freely as his blood did on that good Friday, long ago. We are innocent because of what Jesus did for us. Take confidence in that, and walk freely as one who is redeemed.
If you liked this, then I think that you’ll enjoy my book. You can buy it by going here. Also, I have started a His Kingdom/ Our Good podcast. It’s available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, and Anchor.