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Canceled Debts

This past week in my small group, one of our group members mentioned that they hit a major milestone the week previous; they made the last payment on their house. I haven’t done that yet, but I briefly mulled over what it will feel like when that day comes for me. What a relief. What a sense of freedom. There must almost be a sense of joy to drive by the bank that held the note on their home for so long, knowing that they now actually own their house!

If you have had debt…a car loan, or another consumer account, you know the exhilaration of sending the final payment and knowing that you won’t need to send them anything more; your debt has been satisfied.

As we continue to study through Colossians this summer, we now come to one of the most compelling pictures in all of Scripture of what Jesus did for us through his death, burial, and resurrection. It’s found in Colossians 2:13-14. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us…”

If you’ve trusted Christ as your only hope of salvation, you know this experience in spiritual terms. You had a debt of sin standing between you and God that had to be paid if you ever had any hope of being in Heaven someday in a right relationship with God. What’s worse; there was nothing you could do about it. The just payment for your sin (the wages) would be death…separation from God for all of eternity (Romans 6:23). You were a debtor with no way to pay your debt. End of discussion. End of hope…except for Jesus…

In Matthew 18, Jesus uses this very picture to illustrate the significance of the forgiveness we have received. He talked about two men who had a debt. One owed the king millions of dollars in today's terms. When the king threatened to throw him in prison, he begged forgiveness and the King granted it. He went out and found another servant who owed him about 3 months wages. He refused to forgive his fellow servant the debt. For our purposes here, I want to point out that the first servant had been forgiven a debt he could never have repaid. That is the point regarding this servant and it brings us back to the picture in Colossians 2:14. God canceled the debt that we had against us; a debt we could never have repaid under any circumstance. As one writer has said: “Jesus paid a debt he didn’t owe because we owed a debt we could never pay.”

Take a little time as you approach the message this week to remember the incredible debt that was against you…the weighty debt of your sin. Then focus on how that debt got paid. Jesus took it upon himself to pay your debt. God didn’t just randomly cancel your debt without satisfaction for His wrath against sin; He poured out His wrath on Jesus. He nailed Jesus to the cross and all the debt of your sin with Him. I suspect that will put a little extra shot of gratitude in your heart as you think about it.

Posted by David Wilson with

Be Careful.

We have all witnessed what a little bit of carelessness will do to a room, to a house, to a car, or even a relationship. Carelessness is often the product of an ungrateful heart. My dad taught me that if you are grateful for something that you have been given you will show the person who gave it you how grateful you are for it by how well you take care of it. For instance, I was blessed to have been gifted my first car and as grateful as I said that I was for it, he would always point out that the car did not reflect my gratefulness because I was not caring for its’ cleanliness.

Do you care for your soul?

If you profess Christ, of course you care for your soul! You know that we do not measure up to God’s standard and that you need to be saved from your sin so that your soul does not incur that wrath of God for eternity. I believe that our care for our soul should reach beyond just a profession of Christ, but also to be careful.

John Maxwell famously penned the words “Leadership is influence”. As Christians, we are to be Followers of Jesus, implying that Jesus is our leader. To care for your soul is to be influenced more by Christ than the world. Paul commands the Colossian church to be careful that no one takes them captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition and by elements of the world. To often, our thinking, our decision making, and what we believe about God is taken captive by—or influenced by—the world rather than Christ. Not because we make the decision to follow the world, but because we have a tendency to love the world more than we love Jesus and without careful focused effort to dwell on the things of God and to submit to Christ we will drift away from the truth that has set us free.

Paul’s command is to be careful, so I urge you to be careful about who you are influenced by. If Jesus is your leader, let His life and His instruction influence you today. If you do that, it will influence your relationship with God, your relationship with others, and your relationship with yourself.

Being influenced by Christ instead of the world will influence your relationship with God. You will see God for who he is rather than a conjured up version of who our flesh wants him to be. Right worship of God begins with a right view of God and a right view of God comes from believing what Jesus believed in the scriptures. God is Holy, His wrath is towards sin, He is loving, and He went to great lengths to save His children from their sin—not to see them wither up and continue in their sin, but to see them grow more and more into the image of His son.

Being influenced by Christ instead of the world will influence your relationship with others. If you look at Jesus’ life long enough with a desire to emulate it, you will serve others, you will disciple others, and you will seek to honor God with all that you do. Looking to be influenced by Christ every single day will give you a heart for the lost. Jesus reached out to the people who were looked down upon—and we should follow his lead and do the same.

Being influenced by Christ instead of the world will influence your relationship with yourself. You should begin to care what you see, what you hear, and cut things out of your life that you know are not God-honoring. You will see your sin as rebellion to God instead of casual misconduct. You will live life gratefully and begin to take care of your soul through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Care for your soul. Remind yourself of the Gospel. Let Jesus lead your thoughts, your words, and your deeds and you will begin to look more like Him.

Posted by Andrew Wilson with

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