A Debt Paid in Full
Mounting national debt. Over a trillion dollars worth owed to China. A slow-growing economy. Thirty years ago, who would have ever thought this could be possible in the U.S.? No, I’m not getting political here, only pointing out that as the national debt surpasses $17 trillion, the average citizen finds it hard to imagine how we will ever repay that debt--and downright depressing.
Numerous radio commercials and online ads will tell you the end of the world is coming . . . or practically. They say their book or CD has the answer to avoid the approaching economic cataclysm. You pay the author or speaker a small, reasonable amount and they’ll give you a foolproof method for becoming rich and avoiding tragedy. Really? Do you think any of those offers come with an ironclad guarantee? Absolutely not!
There’s only one debt ever paid in full with an eternal guarantee! As we went over this in Bible study on Thursday, I thought about how unlike the national debt, Jesus’ provision for His people is. Jesus’ death on the cross, as a perfect sacrifice for our sin, paid our debt in full! We only have to humble ourselves and realize there’s nothing we as humans can do to earn salvation for ourselves. Jesus sealed the deal by proving He could overcome death by His resurrection power.
Jesus would rather that none would perish. He would rather prepare a heavenly home for you to live with Him in eternity, because of His mercy and grace, rather than owe a debt you can't pay and be judged on that basis. However, you have to trust in Him and receive this gift. Unlike a credit card, His gift can’t be cut up. Unlike cash, it can never be devalued. But you can throw away the chance of a lifetime and eternity by not receiving this precious gift.
The thought that my sin has been forgiven and its debt settled for all eternity humbles me. That Jesus would love me before I loved Him and provide me with this security makes me very thankful for what I don't deserve. And yet, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to comprehend just how precious it really all is.
Romans 3:22-28 (NLT) tells us about our shortcomings and the hope we are given through Christ:
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
(Image of U.S. currency in the public domain. Found at Wikimedia Commons.)