Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 7 July 2014
Page 10

A $16 Trillion Debt

Russ Vickers

Let’s begin today with a few numbers. As of the time of this writing, the U.S. National Debt is $16,658,047,122,041, and by 2017, this number will have jumped at the current rate to over $22 trillion. The U.S. Total Debt is $58,221,519,401,846. Every year, some US citizens make donations to help reduce the over $16 trillion national debt. Since the government began to accept gifts for that purpose in 1961, almost $100 million has been given. That is a lot of money, but it does nothing to scratch the surface of the level of debt in this nation.

How much is $16 trillion? Think about it like this: The population of the United States is about 310 million. If we could collect $53,056 from every man, woman and child alive in the United States today, we could pay off our current debt. Or, how about this: According to United Nations estimates, there are approximately 7 billion people alive in the world today. If we could collect about $2,000 from each of them (every man, woman and child in the world), we’d still be about $2 trillion short. It would take approximately $2,350 per person to cover the entire current debt. Or put another way, scientists have estimated the total number of human beings born since the beginning of time at approximately 106 billion. If we had about $155 for every person ever born, we’d have just enough to pay off our national debt. Or, in terms of real estate, the total value of all residential real estate in the U.S. is estimated at $16.3 trillion. So, if every residential property in the U.S. were sold at current appraised value, the proceeds would just about cover our total current national debt (“How Much”).

The servant in the parable of Matthew 18:21-35 had an enormous debt. It was so great that the king wanted the servant, his wife, his children and all he owned to be sold as payment (vs. 25). He asked for more time and promised to repay all that he owed (vs. 26). Yet, the amount was so huge that there was absolutely no way he could repay the amount owed. However, the king had compassion on him and forgave the debt. The servant, though, was heartless and showed no mercy to someone who owed him but a small fraction of what he had owed the king (vs. 28-30).

Can you pay the personal debt the government said you owe? Back in ancient times, if you couldn’t pay your debts you were either thrown into prison or you and your family would be forced to work in slavery until the debt could be paid. The idea was that the debtor, while sitting in prison, would sell all he owned including any land or that relatives would pay that debt. If not, you spent the rest of your days in the cooler.

The rabbis believed that you should forgive someone only three times. Peter was being nice about it and gave the number of completeness – seven (vs. 21)! Was that enough? Jesus said, “seventy times seven” (vs. 22).

What was Jesus saying in this parable? He was teaching us what it cost God to forgive us of our sins, and He wants us never to forget the importance of forgiving those who are indebted to us. We shouldn’t keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant for what they have done. When God says, “I forgive,” our way of living should automatically change.

Works Cited

“How Much Is $16.5 Trillion?” The Real Estate Pro. 3 Mar 2013. <http://www.therealestatepro.com/articles/viewArticle.aspx?a=811>.


Are You Dead?

T. Pierce Brown (deceased)

T. Pierce BrownThe Bible speaks of those who are dead in sin, and those who are dead to sin. Sadly, there are some connected with the church that seem to be about halfway between. That is, they gave the impression that they died to sin when they were baptized. However, as we look at their lives, the questions raised in Romans 6:1-2 are pertinent. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. We who are dead to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?”

Paul said in Romans 6:6-7, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin.” Is it possible that instead of crucifying the old man, we just stunned him? Our baptism is supposed to be a symbol of burying the old man of sin into the death of Christ, and then rising to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4). However, it is possible to have a form of Godliness and deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).

We probably have the answer to the fruitlessness in the lives of many who profess membership in the church as we examine carefully such passages as 1 Corinthians 15:36, “Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die.” Although Paul is here talking about the resurrection of the body at the Second Coming of Christ, he stated a general principle that is true in farming and in spiritual matters. Jesus said in John 12:24, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.” He was talking about His own death, but expressed a general principle that is true in our lives.

Do you notice that He said, “If it die, it beareth much fruit?” If we examine our own lives and find that we are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), could it be that we have not died to self, Satan and sin? Look carefully at the passage. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.” When you get through with your day’s activities, whether it be preaching, housekeeping or just visiting, is there more love evident in your life and that of your companions, or do your talk and actions create bitterness and strife? Do your language and actions increase longsuffering and kindness in those about you, or more division and strife? Are you thought of as a meek and gentle person, or is your language biting, sarcastic, slashing and hurtful? It is possible that we have sought to be known as the disciples of Christ because we taught what we called “sound doctrine” when Jesus says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another” (John 13:35).

A father who loves his child will admonish, rebuke and chastise him, but that does not mean he will slash him with a bullwhip or bash his head with a baseball bat. The lesson has far broader implications than that. Are you striving to win souls for Christ? Is there any area where you are not bearing fruit? Could part of the reason be that you have not really died to self, Satan and sin? If you get your feelings hurt because you are not properly recognized and applauded, do you realize that dead men do not feel that kind of pain?

 


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