Indebtedness! I do not like that word, nor do I like the idea such a word communicates. However, I admit that I am indebted to many people for many different reasons, you are too. I suppose this is on my mind this morning simply because I was writing checks and stuffing envelopes before I took my morning walk. This morning’s trek to the Post Office, was not so much about checking the Box as it was buying stamps and posting bill payments. Mornings like this get to me. I despise watching our hard earned money flow through my finger-tips via ink from a ball-point pen put to a rectangular piece of perforated paper that will bear a dollar amount made out to a creditor, insurer, or utility company complete with my signature authorizing the release of funds from my bank account. Such an effort reminds me that I am indebted to these people for loans, protection, or conveniences that I enjoy. Am I the only one who feels this way?
There are other areas you and I carry debt. We are indebted to those who made us the successes we are. Your list probably includes, but is not limited too, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, neighbors, friends, and of course your teachers. All of these people had and have influence on you, the decisions you make, and the life you now live. How are you taking time to repay this debt? I challenge you to take time to thank them in some way. Send them a short note, drop them an email, give them a call, let them know that you are thinking of them and appreciate their efforts on your behalf. These people receive so much negative feedback in their lives, a little “warm fuzzy” from you may go a long way.
There is still a greater debt you and I have to understand. This debt is bigger than your utility bill, your car loan, mortgage, credit card debt, and boat payment combined. This debt weighs heavier that the debt you owe those people who made you what you are. You and I have a debt that is greater than the national deficit. We have a debt of death!
Paul says in Romans 3:23, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Falling short of God’s glory is sin and Paul adds three chapters later that “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23a). Think about this for a moment . . . you and I owe the debt of our life simply because we sin.
I know what some of you may be thinking, “Wait one minute, Scott, what do you mean by ‘we sin?’ I am a good person, I have not committed any major crime, the worst I have done is __________________.”
OK, I understand. You are a relatively if not a highly moral person, but you are NOT perfect. I know you make mistakes, so you might as well admit it to yourself. Raise your hand if you have ever driven faster than the posted speed limit, cheated on a test or at work, lied to your parents (children or spouse), lied to a telemarketer about someone not being at home, not paid for a small item that the cashier forgot to scan, or kept the over amount of change she gave you. If you are guilty of any of these things (or things like them), you are guilty of falling short of God’s glory; you are guilty of sin and you owe the wages (debt) of death. Everybody, not just you, is guilty.
The problem with this indebtedness is that if I were to pay my own debt I would have to die a physical death and die an eternal spiritual death in separation from the Creator in a hell meant for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41). Your situation is the same. Because we are sinful we can NEVER pay this debt. But thanks be to God who offers to pay the debt for us and to freely give us eternal life (Rom 6:23b) through Jesus as Christ.
That is the essence of the Gospel (good news) of Christ. The good news is that since Jesus was sinless as a man, his death paid the penalty for my sin and your sin. Because God raised Him from the dead we have assurance of eternal life in Christ, when we are in Christ as we obey that good news. Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 6:1-6 and Galatians 3:26-4:1 explain how we by faith obey that Gospel and get into Christ becoming heirs of the promises of God.
Once I understood my indebtedness of sin unto death, and realized reconciliation to God through Christ, I became indebted to them for my life and chose to live for them daily. Paul put it eloquently and succinctly in Philippians 1:21 and I leave you with his words, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”