This isn’t a popular concept in our culture today, but Scripture teaches us that all of humanity is born into spiritual debt. All of us have sinned against a Holy and Righteous God. It is eternal sin against an eternal God and carries an eternal debt. Colossians 2 describes us as being spiritually dead and having a certificate of debt against us. This is a certificate for a contest that you don’t want to win and yet all of us have excelled in running up an account of spiritual debt.
In our culture today we don’t understand spiritual debt but we understand financial debt. We live in a culture that thrives on debt. 40% of all Americans spend more than they make. Most people who have the new car, new house, new gadgets, also have new letters that come in the mail each week from their debt collectors.
My wife and I have had seasons where we have had credit card debt, car debt, school debt and we know what it is like to live under the weight of constantly feeling stressed about money. It is oppressive.
Debt is horrible, spiritual debt and financial debt. I imagine that a lot of us don’t like the idea of being in debt to God. It sounds so morbid and beneath Him. Like He is some giant accountant up in heaven keeping track of every little penny. We work with people like that and we want to avoid those types of people. How could God tell us that we have acquired a spiritual debt? Doesn’t He have something better to do than keep track of my spiritual debt?
Scripture teaches us that we don’t acquire debt as much as we are born into it and we see practical expression of that spiritual debt externally and internally.
Externally we see our spiritual debt as sins of commission like murder, gossip, hate, lying, stealing, the obvious ones. Like going to Texas A and M games. However, there are also more subtle sins of omission and they are things God created us to do, but we ignore. It is when we neglect to worship Him, when we are selfish with our time, energy, words, prideful, unloving.
Internally we feel the weight of our spiritual debt. It is why we have feelings like we should be doing more, we feel like we should try harder, we feel like we should be better people which is exhausting, because we could always be better husbands, better moms, and better workers and for some of us we live under this constant fear that we are going to get fired, our spouses are going to leave us, and our children are going to hate us. It is an internal pressure from the spiritual debt. It is oppressive.
We see it externally and feel it internally and to help ourselves feel better about ourselves we find ourselves looking down on other people and thinking, “Well, at least I am not as bad as those guys.” I may not be perfect, but at least I am trying. That guy is really messed up. Did you see her with her kids! It makes us feel better in the moment, but it doesn’t remove our spiritual debt.
There is good news and in the gospel of John we see that God has a plan to remove our spiritual debt. This God is eternal and His eternal plan was not to remain distant and uninvolved but to come and walk among us. He isn’t some distant power source that we speculate about, but through supernatural revelation He has revealed Himself in the flesh. He was born of a virgin, lived a life of perfection, and when John the Baptist sees Him in the distance He refers to Him as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He comes to remove our spiritual debt.