“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:12-14).
Have you ever been in debt? When we think about being in debt, negative images enter our minds as we think about being constantly barraged with notices in the mail and phone calls harassing us to pay our debts. Being in debt is like a dark cloud hanging over you that seems to never go away.
However, as the opening passage above indicates, as Christians, we are told we are debtors. Why are we indebted? We are debtors to God because He paid for us a debt we were unable to pay ourselves. God paid the debt for our sins by sacrificing His own Son: “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8; cf. 1 Peter 1:18-19). What kind of creditor is God towards those who are indebted to Him?
For example, is God upset with us because He paid this debt for us? No, God understands the debt of our sin was too great for us to be able to pay. He paid this debt for us because He loves us! Even though we are greatly indebted to God, the apostle Paul expresses God’s great, inseparable love for us: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
Furthermore, does God want us to continually feel like there is a dark cloud of gloom over us because we are indebted to Him because of our sin? Does He want us to continually feel guilty because of our past mistakes? Again, the answer is no. Although we are indebted to Him, God says there is NO CONDEMNATION for us in Christ: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:1-3).
Finally, as our Creditor, does God call us up to harass us for not paying our bills? No, instead of calling us to remind us of how much we owe, the Holy Spirit actually pleads with God on our behalf by making intercession for us: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
Yes, I am indebted to God because He paid the price for my sin which I could not. Today I rejoice that, unlike most creditors who want to charge me more interest and take more from me, God continues to give to me and has always has my interests at heart!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).