Some of my earliest memories of video games occurred in arcades. Just in case you are one of those gamers who started playing on this side of the 21st century, an arcade is a place that is so much more than where people go to play retro video games and blow their hard-earned milk money. Oh no, an arcade is a magical place that often smells like a bar but has more flashing lights and fewer self-regrets associated with it. I grew up in the golden era of these pixelated paradises, and the only thing that could pull me out of one of these when I was in the zone were quaterless pockets. Arcade legends like The Black Tiger, Altered Beast, Street Fighter, Spy Hunter, and many, many more titles not only took my money but also my time. Many will complain about difficult games on the market today; well brother, you must not remember the harsh learning curve at the arcade.
Arcade cabinets were simply glorified coin coffers that were designed to take your money. Many of these games could be beaten, but only if you have the time and the money to shell out for continues. In shooters like House of the Dead and Time Crisis, the games were actually designed to kill off players at certain intervals so that the game could not be beaten in one sitting. To complete the game, you would need cash, and for most able-bodied arcade goers (kids between the ages of 12 and 16) the only change you had was what your parents gave you. When you entered into an arcade, you knew that you were not going to beat any of the games, but you ground away at them anyway.
Some arcades, however, gave large groups of people the ability to play as many games as they wanted for free (well, it seemed like it was free to the kids). The pay-to-play option would be shut off on every machine for an evening and all the partygoers could play games to their heart’s content. The cabinets that ate change like a seagull gobbles down popcorn would be able to be played by simply pressing Player 1…over and over and over again! It was fantastic, and it was something that us kids would have never been able to do with our money. We needed someone with a connection to the arcade owner, and a large sum of money, to pay for our way to win.
We have come to a crossroads as we travel on this Romans Road. We have learned that everyone on this planet is on the same level; we are all sinners who cannot possibly pay off the debt that we have accrued through our sin against God. Naturally, the penalty for sin is death, and we are doomed to experience a second death that is an eternity of suffering and separation from God. That doesn’t sound good, but thank God that the Romans Road does not stop at there; it continues forward to bring about some incredible news about our legal status with the Lord.
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
This passage comes directly after the iconic verse that proclaims that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” God did not see fit to just leave us hanging in the noose; he gave us something to stand on, even lift us up from the death that we were once living, and that is the Rock of Salvation, Jesus Christ. He paid the ultimate price so that we could win in the end.
Just like the arcade owner that allows everyone to play his games for free, we as the children of God are ultimately living off of another man’s coin. Jesus paid the price that secured our place in glory, but there is more to it than just a passive response by those who have been saved. A connection must be made between the Savior and those who have been paid for, and that connection is the topic for our next devotional.