Romans 13:8 “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Debt can be a drain on your livelihood, on marriages, it can cause undue stress and cause people to act irrationally.
When people spend more money than they have, debt is incurred and the process of attempting to pay off the debt begins. By the time some debts are paid off, the amount spent far exceeds the original purchase price.
It’s almost an expectation in this day and age to incur debt. During this christmas season, people build up debt that for some extends throughout the year. I’ve heard economists say that christmas season in America is a 2 trillion dollar industry, it’s no wonder that businesses start erecting christmas displays in October.
The Bible explicitly warns against believers in Christ building up debt. Solomon almost makes a mockery of those who live for the moment, for people who want to be entertained with food, wine, and celebration.
Ecclesiastes 10:18,19 “Because of laziness the building decays,
And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry;
But money answers everything.”
People act as if the only solution to life is money. If people have more of it, they think they will be happy, if people think they need more money, then they are rarely satisfied with what they have. The culture seems to dictate the ideal of what happiness looks like, and America has set the ideal higher than what most can attain to.
Indentured servitude is a condition that has been historically common place. It was an economic system that became popular in the early modern period in Europe and North America. In contrast to chattel slavery, indentured servitude required that a worker sell their labor at no wage in exchange for a fixed payment or to fulfil a legal obligation.
These indentures had no regulations for the working conditions of the servants, leading to brutal working conditions. As a result, many servants died before their obligations had been fulfilled, passing the debt to their living family members.
Bond slaves in biblical times were much the same as indentured servants, people forfeited their individual liberties in order to pay of incurred debt. The Lord never encouraged people to place themselves in a position of a bondslave to another, rather He told them repeatedly that He would supply their needs. The Bible does address people living under slavery as to how they should act, but this was more of a recognition of that reality rather than a stamp of approval.
Colossians 4:1 “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”
The idea of indentured servitude extends to the spiritual realm. When we sin, we incur debt before God.
The Debt of Sin
Romans 6:15,16 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
- Death is what is due to the one who commits sin.
When sin occurs in the life of a person apart from God, they draw from a bank against God’s laws,the insurmountable debt that occurs is impossible for a person to pay. The hope of a violator of God’s laws is that they will be able to justify their position by their good works. The impossibility of paying such a debt becomes a crushing reality when the debt becomes due at death.
Like a dim reflection of our status before God, incurring monetary debt with man is to draw from a bank of money that we don’t have. Being subjected to a master of your debt is likened to being subject to sin and it’s mastery over your life. Righteousness is the payment for sin and yet none could be found righteous according to the law.
1 John 2:2 “And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.”
The only way for the debt of sin to be paid is to accept the price of payment made by Jesus Christ. We were indentured servants to sin for a debt we could not pay, Jesus became the righteousness we needed to be found justified.
When an indentured servant to sin accepts the price that Jesus paid, they choose to be found as a slave to righteousness rather than to sin.
Romans 6:18,19 “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”
When the sizeable debt of sin is paid by Jesus, there is an expectation for the one being freed. The bondslave of sin doesn’t receive freedom from sin to continue on sinning, or incurring more debt. The one who accepts Jesus’ redemption price is placing themself under Jesus as their Master, rather than Satan.
In regards to righteousness, when you were under the law of sin and death, you were free from the expectation of righteousness. When you accept the free will offering of Jesus, you become a slave to righteousness. This means there is an expectation of obedience to Christ through your expression of gratitude to Him.
Romans 6:20-22 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
- The end of righteousness is everlasting life. The end of sin is death.
People don’t like the prospect of being subjected to anything in their lives, so they have found it easier to to just reject God’s Word. It seems like a simple solution to an overarching problem, the trouble is, the debt doesn’t go away just because you pretend like it doesn’t exist.
- The moment the flesh dies, the debt comes calling.
No one can escape the consequence of their debt since no one can preserve their life. I’ve always wondered why people try so hard to stay alive, even in the midst of incredible suffering. I’ve witnessed those who are only a shell of their former self, their quality of life has diminished to the point of hopelessness and yet they strive to hold onto their very last breath. I think to myself, everything I long for is in Heaven, my Savior resides there and He is my great reward, why would I try to prolong my life when it is ending?
- I see now that those whose hope for meaning in this life, lose everything in death.
The worst a christian can expect is what they are experiencing now. The best anyone can expect who rejects Christ is what they have now.
Who is your master?
Does Satan have mastery over you by subjecting you to the scourge of sin? Or is Jesus your Master and you have relegated yourself to a life of righteousness?
If Jesus is your Master, you have chosen wisely.
Romans 13:8-10 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Even though the debt of sin has been paid by the Savior, He has an expectation of those He has redeemed.
- We have a debt to our fellow brother. The Lord declares if we receive His love, He expects us to give His love to others.
It seems ironic that the very law that brings condemnation and death, is the very standard by which we show love to God and others. The expectation of our Master is righteousness and that righteousness was fulfilled by Jesus at the Cross.
We are called to walk in righteousness. This is how we repay our Master. We can’t earn His grace, but we can pay it forward to others. When we love others, we show love to Him.
What do you owe Jesus?
I know my answer….it is everything. If I give him everything, I have nothing to lose.
- He is faithful and remains faithful with all that we entrust to Him.