who's gonna pay your debts?
2005 saw the worlds wealthiest countries working to clear the debt of the world's poorest, a remarkable aim if it can be achieved that should certainly benefit the least of our neighbours. But did you know the inspiration for this dream grew out of something in the Bible?
In the Old Testament economy of Israel, God set down a wonderful mechanism for debtors to be freed in what was called the year of Jubilee. Perhaps a family might fall on bad times and sell it's children into service or mortgage their land to survive. For just such families, God established the year of Jubilee so that once every generation a wonderful restoration could take place, with debts forgiven, lands and children restored. This was to take place every 50th year (see Leviticus chapters 25-27).
What this provision shows is that in God's heart, (r)He wants to have compassion on the poorest, (r)whether their circumstances were of their own (r)making or not, by enshrining in law a way for their (r)debts being forgiven. God is not only just, He is also (r)merciful and wants to "set the captives free." And so, (r)the Jubilee year as a law, was like a signpost that (r)pointed to an even greater canceling of debt that God (r)had in mind.
When Jesus visited a Synagogue one day, He was invited to read from the scripture. He read Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Then He said, "Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:14ff).

By saying this, He was claiming to be the anointed (chosen Messiah) of God, the One whom God had long-promised to send, to deliver His people from their oppressors. In time, He taught His disciples, that this would take place by Him willingly laying down his life for His people like a servant (Mark 10:32-34, 45; John 10:1-18). Why? Because the greatest oppressor was not the Romans, but our spiritual enemy Satan, our own corrupt sinful nature, and the bitter consequences of death and judgement.
And so, God sent us His Son, who became a man, who was cruelly treated and crucified by our hands. He died and was buried, but three days later rose again. Why? To pay the death penalty, the debt of our sins and transgressions, so that God had a lawful and just way to forgive us (Romans 3:19-26). Thus Jesus is OUR JUBILEE !!
Paul puts it this way in 2Corinthians 8:9 "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be made rich." And "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23.
Now all that remains is for us to turn from our sin and trust Him today, in this the "acceptable day of the Lord." For the truth is, we must settle our account with God in this life, for the accounting is in the life to come. So, why pay your own debt when God sent His Son for the very purpose of setting you free from it?
To refuse, is frankly, unthinkable, unthankful and in the end, unforgivable.
October 2005