Monday, September 8, 2008

Debt Free Living

It's a strange thing about debt. Everyone owes something. The talk lately is how to live debt-free. But is that really possible? I guess it depends on what kind of debt you're talking about. You could live in a house without a mortgage. You can drive a car and hold a clear title. But can you enter eternity debt-free? Who owns us? Who holds our note? Who has paid our debt?
Being saddled with debt can be a binding thing. We cannot be free to serve the Lord when we are enslaved to worldly wealth. We cannot do all that God commands when our obligations are to another master. We can suffer tremendous pain while suffering in debt. But this worldly pain of being indebted to the world's systems pale in comparison to the eternal pain we will encounter if we leave this temporary world and our eternal account remains unsettled.
When we realize that our payment has been made for us to live in eternity, it makes a difference how we live our lives here and now. We can be indebted to the bank and live freely in Christ. Our eternal debt has been settled by an Eternal One. He has forgiven our sin debt. He absorbed the cost Himself.
Several things have to occur when a debt is settled. The first question to settle in our minds is about the debt itself. There must be agreement about the debt. Does the debt exist? How much do we owe? And to whom? Our eternal debt exists. Even if you are reading this and do not believe that you owe God your life, trust me, you do. The wages of sin (sin being our natural-born existence and not only the wrong things we do)is death. Someone has said that sin has a payday someday. We have to consider that we are being held as hostages to sin by the ruler of this world. He has control over our lives because we are born sinners. We are born debtors. So yes, we have a sin debt to reconcile.
The next question is about the debt. Can we repay it? What is the amount? Consider that there are two ways to settle a debt. The debt can be paid in full. This option only exists if we have capacity to pay. The currency that we use must be correct for the amount and it must be acceptable as payment. Or the debt can be forgiven. This is highly appealing to the debtor but highly unlikely. Only the creditor has this option. Only the one who is owed can forgive, or cancel, the debt. The creditor alone enjoys the privilege of taking the initiative to exercise this option. I can pretend that I do not owe my life to God and must give an account to Him, but the reality is that I would be living in a fantasy. I do not have the currency or the resources available to buy my way into God's presence. The sin debt is too high. I am powerless to cancel it because that is not the debtor's option.
But when I enjoy a relationship with God, the One to whom I am indebted, the truth is that this dream of debt forgiveness has come true. God has assumed the cost of the debt. He has purchased us from the master of sin. As in any debt settlement, the terms of forgiveness must be accepted to take advantage of our new standing as debtors. This is the choice of the debtor. The conditions often include a pledge not to live in such a way that we become indebted again. Our problem as humans is that we want to be forgiven of our unpayable debt, but we also want a clean slate to live how we want to live. But rejecting the terms of our debt forgiveness leaves the debtor in debt. Are you still a debtor of a debt that you can never pay? Our has your debt been settled by God? Our account must be settled up when we're called up. Jesus paid it all…all to Him I owe. Only the blood of Jesus has been considered sufficient to pay our way out of bondage to sin. Are you grateful for that transaction today? Are you taking advantage of your debt settlement? God's children have been redeemed from slavery. We have been bought. bought by Him, and bought for Him.
I can't tell you how that stirs my heart with joy. So I'll just let the words of God's word say it for me.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace... (Ephesians 1:3-8)