For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. Psalm 25:11
Debt. Not a pleasant word to see. Not a pleasant situation to be in. Depending on the amount of debt, relief can seem unattainable.
Debt is experienced not only by individuals, but by countries as well. Look at the following website to see in real time the incredible speed of debt growth for various countries of the world: http://www.usdebtclock.org/world-debt-clock.html.
Financial debt should be taken seriously. Financial debt keeps a person or a country in constant obligatory chains until the debt is paid off. Financial debt is part of the physical world, and we need to be responsible in regards to financial debt. But there is another type of debt in this life that requires more grave attention. It is the debt related to the spiritual world. This debt requires such serious attention that Jesus gives it notoriety by including directions regarding it in His commands for how to pray to His Father, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
What is this debt that we owe to God? God is owed perfect obedience, but we haven’t given Him that: ”All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. Isaiah 53:6. Our debt to God builds rapidly, just like the speed of debt growth we see in the referenced website. If we would comprehend the daily innumerable sins of disobedience that we commit in thought, word, and action, we would say something like what Ezekiel said: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” Ezekiel 9:6. Just like financial debt that is overwhelming in its scope, so also is our constantly accumulating spiritual debt.
Where can we find relief from this unending debt we owe to God? Can we find it in ourselves by trying to do better or be a better person? No, for the Bible speaks of us in this way: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:12, and “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:3.
Our lack of perfect obedience to God incurs His wrath upon us in the form of the living death of hell – unless this debt can be paid off. But if our debt needs to be paid off, and we cannot do it, then who can? The answer is amazing: God, Himself, provides the debt relief. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. In God’s amazing love for His children, He sends His Son to the world to receive the wrath that His children deserve. His children become debt-free. And not only that, they are brought into the riches of God’s kingdom: “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” Eph. 1:18. These riches are not financial, but rather spiritual. However, to use the financial debt analogy, it’s like your creditor forgiving you your financial debt and then giving you millions and millions of dollars.
If you are still in debt to God, the beautiful gospel is that the Holy and Just God gives mercy and release from that debt through the work, sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Go to God for this pardon of your debt, and you, too, can be debt free – and unbelievably rich!! “for the … Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” Romans 10:12
Our next post in this mini-series on forgiveness will address what spiritual riches are (see What is Your Inheritance?). Our final post will discuss forgiving others as we have been forgiven (see I Just Don’t Remember).