By David A. Sargent
When I first read the title of the article, I thought to myself, “I’d sure hate to pay that fine.” The title of the article is: “Library book returned after 110 years in Idaho.”
110 years overdue. How much was the fine? When the book – the “New Chronicles of Rebecca” by Kate Douglas Wiggin – was last checked out of the public library in 1911, in Boise, Idaho, the fine for overdue books was 2 cents per day. “With a fine of two cents per day for 110 years, whoever checked out this book would owe $803,” reported Boise’s Carnegie Public Library in a social media announcement. The report continued: “Thank goodness the Boise Public Libraries are now fine free!”
The book by Wiggin was a sequel to her first fictional novel “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.” Both books were published in the early 20th century (1903 and 1907) and followed the life of Rebecca Rowena Randall, who grows up in rural Maine.
The person who returned the book has not yet identified himself or herself. But the library is overjoyed to have received the old book. *
Our sins put us in debt to God (cf. Matthew 6:12). The “fine” (penalty) for our sins is overdue: “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Our “fine” cannot just be dismissed. The penalty must be paid; justice demands it.
God loves us and desires to save us. But the “fine” must be paid. None of us has the resources to pay the fine for our sins. So, God paid the fine for us. That is grace – glorious grace.
“For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we [you and me] might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
“He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away;
And now I sing a brand new song, “Amazing Grace”
Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.”
God will pay the debt of sin and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). The blood that Jesus shed for our sins will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
My sin has incurred an incredible debt before God. I can’t afford to pay it. Thank God, I don’t have to. Jesus paid the debt for my sin with His own blood. He will pay yours, too, if you will only submit your life to Him.