I am in debt
We read in several places in the New Testament that we are in debt. How did we get into debt and what do we owe?
We are in debt to love one another!
“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.” Romans 1:14. The driving force for Paul to devote his life to preaching the gospel was the realization that he owed a debt of love to all his fellow human beings—whoever they were and whatever their background.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11.
God loved us while we were still sinners
God loved us first. He loved us while we were still sinners. “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8.
“... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romams 3:23. Consequently, no person has deserved that anyone should die for them. On the contrary, they are all guilty of death.
This was not the case with Christ—the Son of Man—when He was in flesh and blood like us on this earth. He was perfectly innocent because He was obedient to His Father in all things, and could deliver to His Father a pure and undefiled spirit, pure from all unrighteousness and sin. (Isaiah 53:9.)
What we do not owe
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14.
By His death, Jesus wiped out our guilt of sin. But not only that. We are no longer indebted to the flesh—our sinful nature. “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” Romans 8:12. By faith in Jesus’ death for us, we are freed both from the guilt of sin and from its power. We no longer owe the satisfaction of the desires of our flesh. Glorious freedom!
How we got in debt
Jesus was condemned to death for blasphemy (John 10:33), despite the fact that no man on earth has ever honored and revealed God as He did. The greatest injustice was perpetrated against Him, the only perfectly righteous man in the history of mankind. He could have accused mankind because of this. Instead, He voluntarily went to death for our sake, presenting His body as a guilt offering. (Isaiah 53:10.)
“If God so loved us,” we read. In what way did He love us? With an undeserved love. While we were still going our separate ways.
“We also ought to love one another,” says John. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16.
Thus, by the death of His Son, God made all mankind indebted. In doing so, He has made all accusations and all claims that human beings can have against each other null and void! In what way? In a financial context, you can hardly make a claim or accusation against a body or a bank that you owe money to. They will probably just say: Come and pay your debts first! This is also the case in interpersonal relationships. If you recognize that you owe your brother a debt of love, then you can in no way make a claim or accusation against him.
By His death, Jesus disarmed the accuser and exposed him openly, when He appeared on the cross as victor over him. (Colossians 2:15.) The accuser of our brethren has been cast down, and all accusations and claims against our brethren are now made void. (Revelation 12:10.)
A debt of love and gratitude
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law,” writes Paul in Romans 13:8. Here it comes again—we have a debt of love to one another.
Thus, coming to faith in Christ is the same as coming to an awareness of my debt of love and gratitude. Unlike earthly debt, which can lead to burdens and poverty, the more I pay on my debt of love, the more blessings and riches I receive in my spirit.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.