Summary: When we accepted what Jesus did on the cross we had our sin debt canceled. So now what? We can have an improper or a proper response to our canceled debt. Last week we looked at some improper responses. Today we'll look at some proper responses.
CANCELED DEBT (part two)
Recap: What are improper responses to our canceled debt? We start accumulating more debt. People claim bankruptcy and then go right back to accumulating more debt. Why? Because they either don't care or they didn't learn the lesson that their poor choices got them into this mess. It can be the same way spiritually. Do we care about what Jesus did to cancel our debt? Do we see the need to live a different way? An improper response to having our spiritual debt canceled is to go right back to living how we always did. Are we appreciative? When Jesus healed the ten lepers only one came back to thank him. And Jesus rewarded him for it.
We need to show appreciation for our canceled debt. Appreciation is not going back into a life of sin. Appreciation is serving the cause of Christ. It's about understanding grace. An improper response to God's grace is to go back into a life of sin. An improper response to grace is to be unwilling to serve Jesus or serve him begrudgingly. When I appreciate I respond to God's grace by saying no to ungodliness and living a godly life, being eager to do good.
However, an improper response to canceled debt is when nothing changes. And if nothing changes things will get worse. When we've been forgiven we have an obligation-to replace the old with the new. It's not enough to stop sinning we must now replace the old thoughts and behaviors with spiritual ones. If we stop but don't replace it will just be a matter of time before we go back to our old ways. When we come out of that old life and start living the new life but are then enticed and drawn back to the old life, becoming entangled again to the point where we abandon the new life it's worse because we had the choice between godliness and sin and chose sin. Improper responses.
What do we do as a proper response to our canceled debt?
Cancel someone else's debt.
Matt. 18:21-35, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Think of what this man had to do and over how much time it took to accumulate such a massive amount of debt. Think of how patient the master was in allowing the servant plenty of time and plenty of chances to pay off the debt. But it just kept growing until it was far outside of the servant's ability to repay. The master was willing to cancel the debt but that doesn't mean no one had to pay. It was canceled for the servant but not the master-he ate it.
Then, you have a situation where the servant's friend owed a few dollars, probably a one-time transaction. Perhaps there was one encounter where he had asked for the money to be paid back. And we have the servant who had been shown much mercy extending none in return to his fellow man. How quickly the mercy extended to him had been forgotten. This would fall into the category of not appreciating the clean slate enough to pay it forward.