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Saturday, February 11, 2017

We owe a debt for our sin

The Letter

A preacher told the true story of one of his church members, an attorney, who after meditating on several scriptures, decided to cancel the debts of all his clients that had owed him money for more than 6 months.  He drafted a letter explaining his decision and its biblical basis and sent 17 debt-cancelling letters via certified mail.

One by one, the letters began to return, unsigned and undelivered.  Perhaps a couple of people had moved away though not likely.  Sixteen of the 17 letters came back to him because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes.  They likely feared that the attorney was suing them for their debts.*

Observe some parallels of these incidents to our own lives…

We owe a debt for our sin, and ALL of us have sinned (Romans 3:23).  Perhaps one of the Scriptures the merciful attorney read was “The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant” in Matthew 18:21-35 (please read this parable of Jesus).  In the parable, Jesus tells about a servant who owed his king an exorbitant amount of money (10,000 talents).  The servant pled for mercy.  “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt” (Matthew 18:27).

But that servant whose debt was erased went out and found a fellow servant who owed him some money (100 denarii).  This servant also pled for mercy but found none; instead he was cast into prison.

When the king heard what his servant had done to his fellow servant, he called him and said to him, “You wicked servant!  I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me.  Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:32-33).  The “master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed” (Matthew 18:34).

Then Jesus gives “the moral of the story”: "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35).

In Jesus’ parable, you and I are represented in the servant who was forgiven the immense debt.  This is true if we have “opened the Letter” and accepted Jesus offer…

Jesus paid the debt for our sin when He died on the cross.  This is the truth that “the Letter” (God’s Word) reveals.  The Apostle Paul states that one of the components of the Gospel (literally, Good News) is that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).  “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

We owe a debt for our sin and God is willing to cancel it but too many people will not even open the Letter that explains that.

The Letter (God’s Word) also explains that in order to receive salvation and the gift of eternal life, we must place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, as we walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).

Won’t YOU open “the Letter,” learn the Good News, and respond in trusting obedience?

-- David A. Sargent

* Illustration from

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