Faith · Fatherhood & Faith · The Husband

What Being Forgiven Really Means

Post by the Husband

“…by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

Colossians 2:14

There is only three things that you can do with debt. You pay it back, you delay payment, or you never pay it back.

Having a mortgage on a house can often feel like you have a debt you literally cannot pay back – at least not in the foreseeable future. It’s often a sum of money so lofty that the number of zeroes makes your eyes water. For most people, they don’t really think about the principal amount from month to month – they focus on the monthly payment. In essence, we are generally paying it off very slowly. 

Owing a cup of coffee to a colleague on the other hand is something we can easily pay back. So it doesn’t take too much effort or time to pay for the next coffee, and then we’ve relieved ourselves of that feeling of “I owe you”. 

There are debts, however, that can never be paid back.

In monetary terms, some people are left with an inheritance from a wealthy relative who passes away. Although not technically a “debt” – it’s certainly not something you could ever pay back to that person. And then there are things that people do for us that we could never repay properly; someone that saves your life for example, or a friend that stuck by you through thick and thin. Financially there can be times when our debts are so great that there is literally no way we could pay our debtors in this lifetime, and so bankruptcy is the only option. 

It’s interesting that God uses the financial ledger and essentially accounting as a way of describing what happened at the Cross.

Of course the Cross itself is a great mystery, perhaps the greatest mystery of the universe. To think how God Himself would send His only Son to pay the price for the sin of the world is unfathomable. Yet, the Bible uses an accounting term to try help us understand around this seemingly impossible cosmic event.

I’m no accountant — but I can understand the feeling of having debt which has legal demands attached. Anyone that has ever owed money to the tax office, or owed money to people in authority would have felt some tinge of fear. 

You see, owing money to someone whom has no power over you is uncomfortable to some extent — but owing money to someone whom has a LOT of power over you is downright scary. 

It reminds me of those movies where someone owes money to the Mafia or some other organised crime syndicate. You just don’t get away with it. Either you or your family or all of you will suffer, and so the characters in the movies who are in debt to the bad guys will do almost anything to pay those debts back. You even see characters who are usually tough and perhaps with authority themselves, fearful of the repercussions of a debt unpaid. 

And yet the Bible is talking about a debt that is so much more than money. And the repercussions so much more than losing a limb or a finger, or even death. 

I think here the Bible is talking about a debt that was racked up by our very nature; this overtly sinful nature that we all have. Now even if you are not religious, I am confident that one can see that the human nature is a mixture of good and bad. I am confident that you can see that although there is a lot of altruism, generosity and love out in the world, there is also a lot of hate, jealousy and selfishness. And it seems to be inherent in every human being. 

As the saying goes “No one is perfect” and that is certainly true. To the point that it can easily be argued that all men are bad. Hence the bible is talking about a debt that has developed in each individual human being’s life – a ledger that is against the Creator. This sinfulness has lead to a debt that is so huge that only that we are unable to pay it back.

We are like some countries in this world who have debt so huge that their interest payments are so high – that they can’t even pay the interest on their loans from month to month, and so the debt just keeps piling up. 

As governments try to avoid a worldwide depression, they are borrowing larger and larger amounts of money and getting their countries into so much debt that these incredible amounts will be so big that they will not be able to service their loans, let alone pay it back.In a similar way, our debt was so high from the beginning, that we can’t even service our loans – let alone pay back the debt. 

And when there is so much debt in the human being, there is a feeling called “guilt” which is basically a God-given signal that we are in the wrong. And then there is this other emotion called “shame” because we know that we are wrong before others. 

Only one person in the universe could do that. Pay back this incredible debt to wipe away the innumerable amount of debt on our ledgers. To clear all the debits in the column of our lives. There is one entry that needs to be put on that heavenly spreadsheet that has our name at the top of the table – and that is “Jesus Christ – Debt Cancelled” – and then … “it’s done”.

No more debt. No more legal demands for that debt. No more guilt. No more shame.

It is finished. 

Nailed to the cross upon his hands. He pays your price and mine, if we would surrender to Him.

A debt we could not pay. Not in a million years. Not with all our human effort, He paid. 

I pray that you will receive his forgiveness today and get your debt cleared – forever.

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