If you have been following the news lately, you know that Lance Armstrong, the legendary cyclist, admitted that he doped up during his seven Tour de France victories. Now everyone with a Livestrong bracelet wants to replace it with one that says Strongly Betrayed.
Ironically, in all that has happened in the last few months, it actually reminded me of the Gospel. You see, the powers-that-be punished Armstrong by stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles. That means when you look at the record books, I guess you’ll see nothing but seven asterisks where his name used to be. But the funny thing for me is that historically speaking, regardless of what any panel or board may declare, Armstrong really did win those titles. It’s not like you’ll find a video of those seven races, and he will magically not be there anymore. Lance Armstrong really did compete in seven Tour de France races, and he won all seven of them. That fact does not change. What does change, is how the sporting world will now sees him. He is no longer deemed the seven time champion. Rather, he is a cheater and a liar. He’s the guy that gave himself an unfair advantage over his competition.
This is what happens to us when Jesus saves us, only the opposite. Jesus lived the life that you and I should live, he died the death you and I deserve to die, bearing God’s wrath for our sin, and he rose to a new life, which he offers to you and me free of charge. We don’t deserve this kindness at all. But the result is that God doesn’t view us as we really are. Instead of viewing us people who don’t do what we are supposed to do, or do what we are not supposed to do, he views us as someone who followed all the rules. Like Armstrong, historically speaking, we actually have and will sin. But God chooses, in his grace in mercy, to look at what Jesus has done for us, instead.