Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Debt We Cannot Pay

My mama was big on predicting the weather from the "signs". She'd look at the sky and proclaim what was coming. One of her favorites was, "Red at night, sailors delight. Red in the morning, sailors take warning."

I'm not so big on predicting weather. Instead, I tend to look at the signs of the times, the culture around us, and predict which direction our world is going. We're a mess, and we're not going in a good direction.

Of course, it's easy to see what's wrong with the world outside us. Jesus calls us to turn our eyes from others to look inside our own hearts. He wants us to see what's wrong inside us.

“You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? "And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right? For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent."”       Luke 12:56-59 NASB

We should be able to see our hearts as they are and anticipate our appearance before Almighty God. Jesus presents His discussion in the framework of a court proceeding. 

In this mini-parable, the person is taken to court by an opponent (or complainant) who has a valid complaint against him. We know it's valid because, unless the defendant settles, the opponent will drag him before the judge, who will turn him over to the officer, who will throw him in prison. He owes a debt he cannot pay.

We, too, owe a debt we cannot pay. It is a sin debt, and the payment required is so vast, we have no hope of settling our case. 

Jesus makes a few things abundantly clear, and we do well to review them, for they are the situation in which we all find ourselves.

1) A debt is owed and payment is demanded.
2) The debt is astronomical. There's no way for us to pay it.
3) There will be payment of some kind, and we will either settle with our complainant or we will be imprisoned with no chance of release.
4) The only hope is to make a settlement.

This is my condition. This is your condition.

There is a solution. The debt must be paid, but God knew it was hopeless unless He intervened. So, He did. Jesus left heaven to wrap Himself in flesh and dwell among us. 

I wouldn't have done it, but God did, because He loves us. Jesus lived with us and loved us and died for us. He took our sin, paid our debt, and conquered death and the grave. 

Jesus settled our accuser's case against us. It is finished.

If payment has been made, we have two options. We can rejoice in the magnanimous gift and accept it or refuse it. If we refuse the gift Jesus so graciously gave, we're on our own with our sin debt. Where is the sense in that decision? 

If, then, we have been set free from our debt, we should live free.

We should live as if every moment of freedom is incredibly precious and valuable. We should live as if sin, which has cost Christ so much, is abhorrent and to be avoided at all costs. 

I am reminded of a song from a few decades ago, written by Andy Williams. "Born Free" 

Here's an excerpt from the lyrics:

Live free and beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
Each time you look at a star
Stay free, where no walls divide you
You're free as the roaring tide
So there's no need to hide
Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
'cause you're born free

The only way to "live free" is to be free,  but freedom is found only in Jesus Christ, our debt-payer. We are "born free" when we are born again by the Spirit of God. We live free when we embrace His gift and follow Him.

Our Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Help us to embrace Your sacrifice on the cross and turn away from our sin. Help us live free in Christ. In Jesus' name, Amen.

#JesusChrist #adebtwecannotpay