It is so hard to grasp without any additional strings attached. You come to Jesus, give him your heart and soul, and you are completely forgiven no matter what you have done. The only toll so to speak that you pay is your soul, one time only, you turn it over to the good guy, not the bad guy you were following. And then what is even harder to grasp is that there are no more tolls to pay when you go the wrong way, from a spiritual perspective that is, you only have to ask for forgiveness.
Today, despite my usual habit of driving and going the right way (I know the women are proud of me), I turned one exit too soon while talking on the cell phone traveling on Florida Interstate 4 going from Orlando to Lakeland. Now if you know Florida you know a toll would be involved. Not just one, but two tolls for heading the wrong way then taking another exit off the other toll road and completely heading back the way I came from.
As I approached the first toll booth, I asked the attendant if I could just make a u-turn and head back to the freeway without a further toll. She informed me that is was against the law to make that u-turn and I would have to go 3 more miles to the next exit, take two lefts turn back around then pay the second toll. I asked for forgiveness but it didn't matter, and though it didn't seem right since I didn't intend to go the wrong way, I went the 3 miles, took two lefts and paid the two tolls.
And then it hit me......Two Tolls Don't Make It Right! Here is the simple truth, in God's world which we have become an active part of, we have been forgiven once and for all, past, present and future, even when we have to make a u-turn from going the wrong way. This is the mercy and grace of the sacrifice of our Messiah, who once and for all laid his life down for our future stupidity. The first toll, giving him our soul is all he requires, he has already made it right.
We may have to pay a second toll for the mistakes we make in this world, the consequences of our actions, but God does not require any further payment to Him. And how many times do we beat ourselves up for being so stupid and think we have to earn our way back to His interstate highway? You see, in his eyes two tolls don't make it right, the price has already been paid.
Of course this doesn't mean we can just do anything we want because if we really turn heart and soul over to him, His GPS (God's Plan of Service) will take over our direction and if we do go off course, it won't be very long before we make that u-turn. The Devil tries to act like a toll booth attendant so that we will get discouraged, but I can assure you he cannot block the way of the Lord.
So for me, this is not only a great analogy to remind me of the gift of salvation I have received, but also a word of wisdom to keep my mind on what I am doing so I don't head the wrong way. I don't think there are any cell phones in heaven, or any toll booths for that matter!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.