Thursday, March 16, 2023

          Yesterday, March 15, is commonly called “the Ides of March.”  Traditionally, this date marks the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar by a group of Roman senators (perhaps most notable Brutus).  Also, this date was considered a time or day for settling debts in the Roman Empire.  It might be comparable to April 15 as the deadline for taxes or possibly the date when your cay payment or house payment might be due.  The idea of “settling debts” has some spiritual significance and value for Christians.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  The ultimate settling of debts took place at the cross where Jesus paid for the debt of sin that you and I had run up against God.
            In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to acknowledge our debts before God and to see sin as debts we have accumulated against God.  The Lord told a story about debtors and creditors in Luke 7:41-43.  He followed up that story by calling attention to a woman who lavished her love and devotion on His feet.  The idea behind both moments in Jesus’ life was to illustrate that those who have been forgiven in great ways respond with great love, worship and devotion.  We read, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47).  If we realize how much we have been forgiven, we will stand amazed at the power of the cross and Jesus’ finished work.  Those who have been forgiven much offer much love and gratitude in return. 
            We had no ability to settle our debt of sin with God.  We had nothing to offer.  We had nothing with which we could bargain.  But thankfully, Christ stepped into the breach to settle those debts for us.  Indeed, Jesus died for us “while we were still sinning” or “while we were yet sinners.”  We did not have to earn His payment.  And we did nothing to deserve His payment.  We can bring our sins to Christ and leave them with Him.  We can confidently know that His blood covers all sins and that His grace is sufficient for us.
            We can understand sin as a legal debt before God.  Sin represents our defiance or disobedience toward God.  Sin is wrong because we have broken God’s laws, ways and standards.  We have chosen our ways above His ways.  When we make these bad choices, we run up an enormous sin debt against God.  We cannot approach or resolve that debt by trying to offset it with more good deeds and more good efforts than bad ones, more righteousness than wickedness.  The Greek word for sin means departing from what is right and pursuing what is wrong and wicked.  There eventually comes a time when the debts must be settled.  Indeed Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  When God compensates us for the sins we have committed, the result is death.  We deserve to be separated and banished from Him forever.
            Christ plays three roles for us in settling our debts.  He is our Mediator.  He stands to represent us before the Father.  He is sinless, righteous and perfect and can plead our case.  He is our Redeemer.  He was willing to pay the debt we owed but was powerless to pay.  He bought us back (or redeemed us) from sin, captivity and Satan.  And Jesus is our Ransom.  His blood was sufficient to erase our debts and cover them completely.  He gave His life in exchange for ours.  He gave His blood in place of ours.  He gave up His place with the Father to secure a place with the Father for us.  The justice of God was satisfied at the cross as Christ gave His life willingly as a ransom—the ultimate ransom.  Have a great Thursday!  Join us on Sunday as we look forward to a day of Bible study, worship and baptizing six people!  Worship can be accessed any time at    

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