Paying down the debt

I’m thinking about debt, specifically America’s debt.

The United States currently spends 3 million dollars every 60 seconds. Our national indebtedness now exceeds $14 trillion dollars.  No, not million, not billion, but trillion. That’s a thousand billion; that’s a one followed by 12 zeros times 14.  Try to visualize the amount, then take three Tylenol and lie down.

It’s impossible for me to wrap my brain around this figure. Politicians evidently don’t have that problem. They pass out, hand out, and give away tax dollars like doggy treats in an overcrowded kennel. That’s not intended as a political statement; it’s simply fact.

The one question that haunts me and many of my fellow-citizens is, “How do we pay this off?” I mean, do we have a big, national yard sale?  Should all of us work a couple of extra jobs to earn extra cash? Should we start a new national diet plan of rice and beans?  Exactly how do we pay off $14 trillion dollars? Forgive my sarcasm.

Jesus talked about a man who had a serious debt problem. Study the following:

“…The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  But…he was not able to pay…” (Matthew 18:23-25) [emphasis mine-mb].

At first glance, ten thousand doesn’t sound too terrible. Granted, it’s a big number, but it doesn’t sound impossible–at least not like $14 trillion.  But do a little background Bible study and you’ll discover how much the servant actually owed.

In the ancient Roman currency system, a denarius was a small silver coin. It was the most common coin produced for circulation. In New Testament times, it was a day’s wage (Matthew 20:2) for common labor. By contrast, a talent was equal to 6,000 denarii. Now remember, the servant in Jesus’ story owed ten thousand talents.

Break out your calculator, do a little number-crunching, and you’ll discover that it would have taken him more than 164,000 years to pay off his debt to the king (that’s before he paid on his mortgage, car payment, electric bill, insurance, gas, and then bought groceries.)

No wonder the Bible says, “…He was not able to pay…”  That’s like asking a modern-day factory worker, making just above minimum wage, to try to pay off $14 trillion! It’s impossible (cf. Matthew 18:26.)

Jesus really wasn’t talking so much about money in His parable as He was about sin.  The truth is, each of us-like the servant-is in debt up to our eyeballs, spiritually speaking.  Romans 3 says, “…all have sinned…” (v. 23), Luke 7 says that sin is a type of debt (vv. 41-42), while Romans 6 says, “…the wages of sin is death…” (v. 23.)

Brethren, pay attention–this debt is far worse than America’s financial crisis! Each of us owes an insurmountable amount (1 John 1:7-10.), and none of us can pay it off. It’s incalculable. The debt is just too high. We all have to file for spiritual bankruptcy!

The good news is that Jesus paid it all-on Calvary (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 7:27; 1 Peter 1:18-19.) The entire debt has been cancelled!!

The next time you’re sitting in worship and partaking of the Lord’s Supper, remember–the debt’s been paid-in full.

“He paid a debt He did not owe, I owe a debt I could not pay-I needed someone to wash my sins away.  I now can sing a brand new song, ‘Amazing Grace.’  Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.”

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