What comes to mind when you think of the word “financial debt?” College loans? Low-budget TV commercials? Interminable stress and prolonged discouragement?
These are all possible, and understandable, responses. Here’s another one: Jesus Christ.
Jesus Came to Crush Our Debt
What do I mean by this rather odd statement? To begin with, on the cross Jesus paid for all of our sin. We were terribly, tremendously in the wrong before a holy God. We all heaped up an unpayable amount of sin. You think $100,000 is a large amount of debt? Try offending an infinite God.
This is why the cross is so precious to us: there was no spiritual bankruptcy to declare. There was no bank loan that could rescue us from moral insolvency. We were cooked. In fact, we were going the opposite way, accruing more and more sin, day by day. This is where all humanity stands: in a righteousness crisis without any hope of payment.
Except for Jesus.
Jesus is the ultimate angel investor. He gave us not simply good terms on a loan, but his moral purity. He both covered our sins and provided us with his righteousness. We could say that he was our silent partner, but that would be wrong. He delivered to us everything we needed, but he was not silent. His gift of righteousness, imputed through faith, came through death on a cross. Jesus screamed his way through it. He convulsed and doubled over at the pain. But he did not come down from his torture instrument. He stayed up there, and he paid it all.
All our debt was paid by all his agony.
But What About Now?
Christians are those who receive this good news by repenting of sin and confessing this great redeemer as Lord. As a result, all his righteousness is credited to our account. Our righteousness crisis is solved. We walk into court under a death sentence, under a crushing weight of debt we could never pay, and we walk out owing nothing. More than that: we enter God’s courtroom as the most indebted person imaginable, and through God-given faith we leave it wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.
But what about now? Now, I think we believers face a temptation.
It’s possible that we could feel grateful for Christ’s work, but then fail to apply it to our lives. Given that our major need has been met, we could grow lax. Take things easy. Not really concern ourselves with our spiritual lives. Like a trust fund baby suddenly come into staggering wealth, we could live selfishly and narcissistically. We could think we’re above the rules.
It’s possible that we could take stock of our spiritual lives, and grow dull toward the killing of sin. After all, the crisis is over. Now we can coast. Pride, jealousy, lust — we could regret such practices, yes. We might not want to do them. But without really realizing it, we could change our tack. Instead of attacking sin, we might just manage it.