|Vol. 14 No. 1 January 2012||
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Thomas Jefferson warned his country in the long ago, that public debt was “the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” I wonder what Mr. Jefferson would say today to a nation who has failed to balance successfully its budget? America’s national debt is currently topping $12 trillion dollars! Obviously, this kind of debt is anything but a blessing to our nation. Not only is national debt a burden, but far too often household debt burdens a family unit as well. Foreclosures, late payments, increased interest, etc. are all part of debt’s nasty web. Although debt is usually viewed as a negative thing, there is a positive debt that each Christian is blessed to have.
Firstly, each Christian is indebted to our Maker. There is no way for anyone ever to begin to repay the benevolent God we serve! We are indebted to Him because of His daily gifts. The Psalmist knew full well how benevolent God is: “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5). Even the most seemingly miniscule blessing of each day attests to our indebtedness! We are also indebted to Him because of His divine grace. Where would we each be if it were not for God’s grace? Paul understood, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Corinthians 15:10a). “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Brethren, we are indebted to our Maker!
Secondly, each Christian is indebted to maturity. No Christian is free from the obligation to grow, no matter how many years he or she has been a child of God. In fact, some of the Hebrew Christians were chastised, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12). Christianity is a living organism that must grow and mature with each passing day. Maturity is not optional, but rather, it is an obligation! Maturity is not discretionary, but rather, it is our debt! Brethren we are indebted to maturity!
Thirdly, each Christian is indebted to mankind. Paul affirmed, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” (Romans 1:14). Our debt is to those who are foreigners. By that, I do not mean only those outside our country, but rather foreigners in a spiritual sense – those outside of Christ. Jesus commanded our indebtedness to the foreigners outside of Christ when He said, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15b; cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 1:13-17). Our debt is to those who have fallen. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2; cf. Luke 15:4). Our debt is also to those who are frail (cf. Hebrews 10:24-25). Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are certainly needed for our generation, “…edify one another…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11b). How much stronger would each congregation be if each individual Christian practiced Paul’s command to the Corinthians, “…Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Corinthians 14:26b).
National debt and family debt are certainly anything but a blessing. However, there is an indebtedness that each Christian carries through life that is truly a blessing. We are blessed to be indebted to our Maker, to maturity and to mankind. Although as long as we live this debt will never decrease, we can spend each day joyously serving until one great day, we can finally see our Lender face to face!
Consider the following four passages from the New Testament. The Preparations of the Savior (John 14:1-6). He left this earth to “prepare a place” for His disciples. Jesus contrasted the common, single room house of the time with a house containing many abiding places. He would do all this (go, come again and receive) so that we could dwell or remain with Him forever, that where our Savior is we may be also.
The Reservations for the Faithful (1 Peter 1:3-5). God has made reservations for you! Where? In the beautiful place called heaven (cf. Colossians 1:5). This reservation is eternal life with God in the home He has prepared for the church of God. It is going to last; it simply does not fade away.
A City Prepared by God Himself (Hebrews 11:13-16). These men of faith confessed that this was not their final place of abode. “They were strangers and pilgrims” (v. 13). People who speak and live that way proclaim clearly that they are longing for and looking for a homeland (v. 14). “They desire a better, that is, a heavenly. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (v. 16).
“God Himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:3-4, 7). In heaven, we will dwell eternally with the God of heaven. Think about it. We will be in His awesome and holy presence (v. 3). God will be there to wipe away every tear from every eye. Because of this, there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. Why? “For the former things of this life have passed away” (v. 4). God will be our God, and we will be His children (v. 7).
One of the greatest expressions of love is willingness to be around someone, particularly for long periods of time. Take two people who have lived together in marriage for forty years. You can tell that they love each other because they have spent their entire lives being around each other. When you really love someone, you will want to spend time with him or her. You enjoy his or her company and companionship.
Now, think about the way God expressed His love for us. He sent His Son to die a horrific death on a cross so that we might live with Him. Moreover, not just live with Him, but live forever with Him! Christ left heaven and laid down His dear life for me that He might take me to glory to be ever in His presence (Hebrews 2:9-10).
Are you ready to meet Him when He comes again to take His faithful children home forever? What must I do to be prepared you ask? One must follow His authority in obedience to His clear commands (Colossians 3:17). “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be immersed in the name [or by the authority] of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Then, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7; cf. 8-10).
Consider this: Deity wants me to be with Him. The God who made this detailed and vast universe, the One who has all wisdom, power and knowledge desires that I come and live with Him forever and ever! He seeks to grant us the everlasting privilege and delight of dwelling in His all-glorious presence. As you go about your day, take a moment and meditate upon that profound thought. Could this be the most profound thought to ever enter and grip the heart of mankind, or to proceed from the mind of the infinite God? Ask yourself, “Am I prepared to live with Him?” (Revelation 22:14-21).