Love and a Christian's Debt Ceiling
Romans 13: 8-10 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The worldly political parties continue to bicker and disagree about the nation's debt ceiling and how to move forward together. They dig their heels into their pre-formed positions and petulantly shake their fists at each other. Our country is now 14 trillion dollars in debt. Even on a personal level we cannot escape debt. The average college graduate is $20,000 in debt. The average household carries over $14,000 in credit card debt. But beyond the dollars and cents debates and the weight of monetary debt, there is a larger debt we all owed. It weighed down our souls and consigned our spirit to an eternity separated from God. But thank God that He paid that debt for us. Jesus Christ not only raised our debt ceiling He eliminated it!
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2: 13-14 (ESV)
Let's take this apart to better understand what we need to be thankful for every day of our lives. First of all, we had a record of debt when it came to God. We were indebted to Him. God created us and thus has the right to set the demands any way He sees fit upon His creation. But we sometimes think we can usurp the place of God:
No, don't say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, "Why have you made me like this?" When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles. Romans 9: 20-24 (NLT)
God is the potter and He has the right to design us as He sees fit. Obedience is what He expects and since the Garden of Eden, we have fallen woefully short. The result of falling short is known collectively as sin. You don't hear a lot about sin anymore in modern American churches. Sin reminds us how bad we really are. Unfortunately that doesn't sell to the "me" generation very well. We do not want to hear about how God truly sees us:
As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Romans 3: 10-18 (NIV)
God doesn't mince words beloved. Our sin condition is very real. There are not seven steps to a better you there is only one. That is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only through His blood shed on an old wooden cross, that we can ever be seen as clean again before a holy God. But like we do not hear a lot about sin, we also do not hear much about the blood anymore:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1John 1: 7 (NIV)
But we have seen the modern church movement start to move away from discussing sin and enter into a bloodless Christianity. Because it easier to market. Because it sells better. Because it is what people want to hear, as foretold by God:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2Timothy 4: 2-4 (NIV)
We have seen the explosion of theories within church systems, which are merely myths for people to turn aside to. We have seen the emergent myth. We have seen the seeker-friendly myth. We have seen the purpose driven myth. But without sound doctrine which includes the fact that we are born sin sick and need the healing and cleansing that can only come from the blood of Jesus, we will continue to have packed church houses of people who are not going to heaven. We do not need to be an emerging, seeker-friendly, purpose driven sheep. We need to be a humble, repentant, and regenerate sheep. Because there is a debt that we owe to God and we cannot pay it ourselves beloved. That debt is so high, it is pressing up against our debt ceiling. If it is not paid in full, then the punishment is an eternity separated from God.
The Colossians verses also teach us that our record of debt stood against us with legal demands. In the world, when you owe money, there are legal demands made upon you to repay your debt. Credit card companies can garnish your wages to make sure they get their money back. What legal demand does our sin carry against us with Almighty God?
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6: 23 (NLT)
Wages are what you earn. Death is what we truly deserve for our sin. It is the legal requirement we have for the debt we owe. Once again, not a politically correct message, but an accurate one. But thank God that He doesn't leave us in this condition. Thank God He doesn't send our bill to collections. Because the enemy sure likes to collect these debts. No; God had a payment plan in mind that would set us free from the legal requirements. A one time payment plan: