Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments…. are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
We’re talking about three kinds of debt today.
#1, the national debt surpassed $20 trillion for the first time in U.S. history in September. It’s a huge debt, it’s continually growing, and it’s not getting any smaller soon.
#2, is the debt I owe for my sin. Astoundingly, it would be easier to pay the US National Debt back than for me to pay back the debt of my sin. $20 trillion is small change compared to that.
#3, is the debt I have to love others. This is a continuing debt, that can’t ever be paid back. Indeed, don’t you hate it when someone reminds you of that by saying “you’re not doing enough”? Boy, that’s some encouragement to want to do things for people. Not!
Thankfully, there is a great answer for both the second and third kinds of debt (I am not proposing a solution to #1 today!) For Christ paid debt #2 for me, in full, when he died on the cross for my sin. When I think of the infinite love that Christ showed when he did that, then I am delighted to show and pass on a measure of that love. When I do that, I am working at paying debt #3. It’s a pleasure and not a chore.
My wanting to show more love comes from the starting point of knowing I am already approved and loved and forgiven. What a wonderful opposite to feeling unloved and being overwhelmed by feelings of obligation, guilt, etc.
It is rejoicing in what Jesus has already accomplished that motivates me to persevere in love!