Are you in debt over your head? Are you behind on payments and can’t catch up? Do you owe the credit companies more than you can afford to pay? These questions can be heard over and over every day on radio and television. Media centers, however, aren’t the only place those words are playing on constant repeat. According to 2019 studies, individual Americans owe a combined total of over 1,000,000,000,000 in credit card debt and the national debt is quickly approaching $250,000,000,000,000! The voices in our own heads are asking the same questions as the advertisements, “How did we get in so deep and how are we ever going to dig our way out?”
Few things are more stressful than debt. It fills every unoccupied space with worry and taxes the joy out of life. The borrower signs his life away to the lender and tragically it’s often for things that weren’t even necessary. Beside almost every fiscal reality, I see a corresponding spiritual truth. Doesn’t the pursuit of the unnecessary vividly describe what happened in the garden? God gave Adam and Eve everything they would ever need, yet for some reason they didn’t think they had enough. They were tricked into believing something more would make them happy.
Deceived by the Serpent’s convincing, yet inaccurate add campaign, they reached out for something they couldn’t afford and didn’t need. There was no fine print; God had plainly labeled the price of the fruit. Little did they realize one appetizer would leave their family in debt so deep they would never be able to climb back out. Their bad decision has left the family in a bad spot ever since. In one moment, the whole family went so deep in debt the children are still poor thousands of years later.
It’s not only our family history that leaves us in the red. We’ve all racked up fraudulent charges of our own. Much like our parents we have been mesmerized by the devil’s marketing plan. We have bought the lie that we need and even deserve things God said we don’t. We’ve swiped our card at Vanity Fair on a daily basis without any hesitation or consideration of the cost, but the bill is coming due.
Have you ever received a credit card statement and almost passed out when you saw the balance? Have you ever wondered, “How did I spend so much?” Sin is similar. We often think we’re not that bad, until we see the bill. It doesn’t matter whether we ordered an extra-small or an extra-large, all sin carries the same cost – death and eternal, permanent separation from God. God is perfect and therefore so are His laws. No charges will be allowed to go unpaid. Every sin cent must be accounted for. One would think that this knowledge would make us buckle down and quit spending, yet instead we continue to disobey and push our personal debt ceiling higher and higher.
Our obligations are so great that if we were placed on an eternal payment plan, we couldn’t even begin to repay the interest. No matter what our bank statements say, we are all in debt beyond what we will ever be able to pay, and one day the collector is going to come calling. We are in over our heads, we will always be behind on our payments, we owe more that we can ever afford to pay, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Yet, God, in a turn of miraculous mercy, offers a debt forgiveness plan that is unbelievable.
It’s unbelievable because it is historically unprecedented. His plan doesn’t include a loan or a refinance option. His plan isn’t just a settlement where we pay part of what we owe. He offers comprehensive debt forgiveness. To the debtor, this should be the best news ever heard, but still one must ask how it works. What’s the catch? If God’s law requires all debts to be paid in full, then how can God justly forgive our debts without violating His own rules?
The formula God used was simple, yet simultaneously incomprehensible. The answer is Jesus. He, being God, became a man. He experienced every category of temptation we face, yet never once swiped the card. On a hillside called Golgotha, just outside of Jerusalem, He was crucified for illegitimate charges He had not made. It was for our sin He was nailed to the tree.
Jesus came to earth to pay the debt we had accrued but couldn’t afford. He got in to get us out. The Bible teaches that when Jesus was crucified, God placed all our sin on Him. In other words, Jesus took on our debts and paid them with His own death. Since He had no debt of His own, He possessed the necessary capital to pay ours. God’s plan is breathtaking. Those who accept Jesus’ payment don’t just get out of debt. No, Jesus’ good credit is transferred to their account. There’s no credit check required; everyone qualifies for God’s debt forgiveness program. All the debtor must do is quit trying to pay the bill and believe that Jesus already closed the account.
Whoever the Son sets free is free indeed. All who come to Christ by faith are, in the eyes of God, Debt Free for Keeps. If you don’t have a dime to spare, you’re a perfect candidate for God’s free program, because Jesus paid it all. If your debt has you down, God wants to talk.
-Pastor Benjamin Webb