Jesus Canceled Our Debt of Sin
Debt is a merciless slave master. When one owes another, he is a slave to him. Debt grows when it is not actively being reduced. He who recklessly accumulates debt is doomed to destruction.
The Bible speaks of one’s debt of sin (Col 2:14). Sinners are debtors. With nothing to stop the reckless accumulation of sin, all men are doomed to pay their eternal debt of sin in the punishment of eternal fire. Man’s sin nature ensures the practice of sins every day. Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4). The day in the life of a sinner is one of active rebellion against God.
God has given His Law to man, so man might see his offense against the holiness and righteousness of God. Man considers God’s Law, and his reaction is to sin even more! The human heart is wicked and deceitful above all else. In all of this sin, man imagines himself to be a good person. Thus, he is self-deceived by the very sin in his own heart, for which he is fully responsible.
The Bible is clear that God is the one who punishes sins (Ex 32:34; Lam 4:22; Hos 8:13; 9:9; Jude 1:7), but who can forgive sins except God? What then is the difference? God punishes for sins. God forgives sins.
The only way for God to move from the position of punisher, to the position of forgiver, is for every sin to be paid for in full. When one considers which sins he has committed; how many sins he has committed; and the fact that each sin is an offense against the infinite majesty of God, then his situation is deemed dire.
The case against each person is awaiting the day of judgment. God is the just Judge, who is all-knowing. The Law of God is unchanging, and man is without hope, being without God in the world. Sinners do not seek God (Rom 3:11), which only exacerbates their status as enemies of God. In his pride, man misrepresents God, even bringing accusations against the Holy One of Israel.
Why does God have mercy on some people? Why does God not have mercy on other people’? How does God legally have mercy and forgive anyone?
First, God’s eternal good pleasure is the cause of election, which informs us as to who are as objects of mercy. Stated another way, God says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” and those He has mercy on are His elect. There is nothing merited by the objects of mercy, which is why it is mercy and not a reward for performance. Mercy is not getting what we deserve.
Second, the fact that God has willed to not have mercy on some is also hidden in His eternal counsel. We only know that He calls those He reprobates, “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (Rom 9:22).”
Third, God can legally have mercy on His chosen people only because Jesus Christ has made an infinite payment to cover all the sins of His beloved elect. Here is the ultimate and unique solution for sins. Salvation has no other name associated with it.
The death of Christ has brought the forgiveness of sins to all of God’s people (Col 1:14), who are blessed to be forgiven (Ps 32:1). Forgiveness is a key aspect of the Gospel message preached (Lk 3:3; Acts 2:38; 13:38). With the shedding of His blood, forgiveness is a reality received by faith (Acts 10:43). Faith and forgiveness are both products of God’s grace (Eph 1:7). Simply put, He bled and died for us, and He gave us the faith to believe in Him.
In conclusion, we have considered the plight of sinful man, including his utter inability to want to secure his own salvation. We have seen how the only hope any man has is God’s mercy upon His elect people, the church of Jesus Christ, the Israel of God (Gal 6:16).
The merciful act of forgiving the debt of sin was legally possible because of Jesus Christ’s substitutionary atoning death. God has redeemed His people, and He remembers their sins no more. He is the Prince and Savior (Acts 5:31), who has done this for His beloved, and it is glorious to us who believe.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 29, 2021