Over the years we have heard much about government bailouts of companies and groups of people that had debts they were not able to pay. The list includes banks, car manufacturers, insurance companies, and mortgage firms. It even includes homeowners struggling under too much debt to pay their mortgages. Such rescue plans are put in place when it appears that without special help a damaging financial disaster will happen.
The Bible tells us about God’s plan to rescue you and me from a spiritual debt that we could never repay. His purpose is to save us from disaster far beyond the loss of possessions. Spiritually, we have all built up a debt of sin that we can never repay. We have fallen short of God’s commands often throughout life.
Spiritually, we are “dead in our trespasses”1 and could no more take the first step to get ourselves out of our sinful predicament than a dead person could walk away from his grave! Our sinfulness separates us from God, and we are helpless to do anything about it.
But the good news is that when we were still powerless, “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”2 “The ungodly” describes all of us, since not one of us has lived up to God’s standards for right living. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”3
Now “ungodly” and “sinners” don’t just mean “those terrible people down the street.” We’re all included. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….There is no one righteous, not even one.”4 But Jesus Christ took our sins upon himself and gave his life to pay the penalty for us. Jesus described his mission on earth this way: “Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”5 “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his mercy.”6
God didn’t say, “First get your act together; take the first step—prove to me you are worthy of my divine love and forgiveness. Then we’ll see if I will save you.” God’s love is unmerited and undeserved. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the [atoning sacrifice] for our sins.”7
No matter how hard we try, we could never earn pardon from God; we can only throw ourselves on his mercy. “By grace [undeserved kindness] you have been saved [from eternal punishment for your sins] through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works.”8
God wipes the judgment of our sins off the books not because we deserve it but because he loves us so much. The spiritual debt of your sins and mine has been paid in full by God’s own Son, who “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”9 Will you come to God today for his forgiveness and the gift of eternal life?
Bible quotations: 1Ephesians 2:4 2Romans 5:6 3Romans 5:8 4Romans 3:23, 3:10
5Mark 10:45 6Titus 3:4-5 71 John 4:10 8Ephesians 2:8-9 91 Peter 3:18
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