So I traipsed merrily into my evening job (pizza delivery) one evening a few months ago, expecting a night of the usual bizarro shenanigans, and stopped dead in my tracks.
Filling an entire wall in the driver’s station was a big-screen TV I’d never seen before, displaying a map of our town dotted with numbered car icons crawling across it, and on the side, a list of the drivers’ names corresponding to each number.
That’s right – we were now being tracked. We’d been given a new set of car toppers, each carrying sensors that recorded our location, speed, acceleration, deceleration, and turning rates, all factored into our “score” for the shift.
Big Brother, thy name is P…
Nah, I’d better not specify which chain I work for.
One driver quit as soon as he saw the new system. I didn’t, but I was a little incredulous. Do we need to be babysat?
But then I considered the legends of other pizza drivers I’ve known and concluded, Yeah, probably. It was embarrassing to get calls from customers asking if it was our policy for delivery guys to almost drive into their living rooms. It was frustrating when drivers visited their girlfriends for twenty minutes while on a run, leaving a handful of us to drown in dough back at the store during a Friday night rush. I could see the logic behind the system.
But still…a score?
Then it occurred to me: I’m glad God doesn’t score me.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2
We love the emboldened part. But what I didn’t understand for a long time was why God no longer feels the need to keep score for those in Christ Jesus.
It’s not because he has no legitimate beef with us. Does he ever. Paul spends Chapter 7 lamenting about the sinful man within him, as if he’s only scoring in the single digits at best.
But then he rejoices because Jesus intervened.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)
Jesus took our single-digit score and paid the penalty. He then gave us – us! – his score of 100 through the cross and the empty tomb.
This isn’t to say God never corrects us. It’s simply saying that his grace becomes our 100. Nothing short of 100 was ever enough, by the way. The New Testament uses words like “blameless” and “white as snow” to describe the state necessary to enter God’s presence. The Old Testament agrees, with the astonishing exactness of the cleanliness regulations of the Mosaic law reinforcing God’s requirement of purity.
The cross gives us that purity. Jesus is our 100.
Neil T. Anderson put it thus: “You are not on a performance basis with God.” We need not spend our lives looking over our shoulder, terrified that a single mistake might get us fired from eternal life. Instead, we have assurance that Jesus is our 100.
Let our praises rise.
Just like the dough. But tastier.
This is part of a Pizza Lessons series I’m auto-posting while on mission in the Czech Republic. I won’t be responding to comments until I return, but please feel free to comment anyway. Please pray vigorously for our team!