Links Daily Devotional

No More Debt?

You have been set free from sin… (Romans 6:18a, NIV)

I travel enough these days that one of my simple pleasures has become my subscription to satellite radio. I can hear every Major League Baseball game—which is made for radio—and every PGA Tour event—which really isn’t. Still, it is nice when I am driving a long distance on a Sunday afternoon to be able to listen live to the tournament proceedings.

Of course, sports provide plenty of “breaks in the action,” enabling the broadcasting entities to sell their ad time. And more and more of those radio spots these days tout the advantages of various debt elimination programs.

People get into debt in all sorts of ways, but when the snowball gets rolling it’s hard to get out from under it. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” as they say, and plenty of listeners respond to those ads to escape their troubled financial circumstances.

Biblically speaking, however, we all must come to recognize that we have accumulated a debt we cannot pay. The sin in our lives—both the sinful nature that is our condition and the acts of that nature that we call “sins”—have darkened our souls and not just dimmed our chances at self-driven holiness but demolished them. On our own in a universe where the Eternal Judge is without flaw, we stand no chance of explaining our way out of the corner we’ve transgressed our way into. In sin, Scripture tells us, we’re dead.

Remarkably, however, Scripture also offers us this news, which is not just good but in every way amazing: Our debt has been paid! That is, though the wages of sin is death (so that what we really owe for who we are apart from Christ is an eternity without him), we are no longer on the hook for these wages when we say yes to Jesus. “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” but a perfectly obedient sacrifice was the price demanded for our freedom from the sin enslaving us—and only one was equipped and willing to pay that praise. Praise Jesus! No, really, praise him!

…and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18b)

Yet there is this to keep in mind. For the payment of that debt there is a responsibility now ours. To the adulterous woman it sounded like this: “Go and sin no more.” If our bankruptcy has been averted, let us not return to a debtor’s patterns. Let us instead build a new habit, a new indebtedness, this time to the one who set us free. Let us become slaves to righteousness. Is this only another set of laws to which we will fall prey? No, look: It is “Christ Jesus, who has become for us…our righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). It is Jesus who is righteousness. It is to him we become newly indebted. It is to him we owe our living at all, and then our lives in whole.

Jeff Hopper

February 9, 2012

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