Getting Out of Debt
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 (NIV)
I was convinced I would be able to make a living selling gumballs.
The instructor in the sales seminar demonstrated how easy it would be. Simply place the gumball machines in heavily trafficked areas such as restaurants, doctor’s offices and church lobbies. Fill up the candy, and each week collect the fortune within.
Continue expanding your candy empire by purchasing more gumball machines, and before long, you’re making a living on sweets.
Being an optimist, I saw how this was indeed possible. I did the math in my brain. By the end of that sales presentation, I signed on the dotted line, the proud new business owner of six shiny green gumball machines.
A few days later, the bubble began to burst.
I had called dozens of local businesses, asking if they could use a free gumball machine in their workplace. Each and every person I called said no. “We’re a franchise,” they would say. “That sort of thing has to be approved.”
After weeks of trying to find homes for my money-making gumball machines, I placed only one machine at a beauty shop. It was my hairdresser’s shop. I think he felt sorry for me.
I filled that lone gumball machine with candy every two weeks or so. I don’t think the coins inside ever amounted to more than five dollars.
I haven’t told you the worst part. I borrowed several hundred dollars from my parents to fund my start-up company. I was in debt with no way to repay.
Enter Prince Charming, my husband James, who was dating me at the time of this candy caper. Before we got married, he wrote my parents a check for the amount I owed for the gumball machines.
He said he wanted to marry me, free and clear of any debts.
It’s a picture that reminds me of what Jesus did for me. He wanted to make me His bride, and in order to do so, He had to clear my debts.
We were dead in sin, away from God, when Christ forgave our sin and took away our shame by dying on the cross. Our key verse says He “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness.” Another version says He “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us” (NKJV). The curse of the law (which Moses first shared with the nation of Israel) was the handwriting that was against us. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23)
That word “handwriting” has the same root word as the word autograph. It was a term used for the signature on an IOU, a signed document acknowledging a debt. Jesus signed our IOU at the cross.
There was an ancient method of canceling a debt. You could cross out the writing or strike it through with a nail. What a picture — that Christ crossed out the judgment against us with His nail-pierced hands.
He paid all our debts.
I closed my candy shop, as you probably already guessed. I donated all the gumball machines to a local youth group. I didn’t come close to building a career on candy, but I did learn a few valuable lessons.
I learned about gratitude and wonder, as James paid the debt of his future bride.
I learned never to attend a direct sales meeting by myself.
I learned about the amazing grace of Jesus Christ who signed the check for humanity that declared to our debts, “Paid in full.”
Jesus loves us so much He declares us His bride. He devised a plan to wipe away our unrighteousness. We are no longer condemned or indebted. The check has been signed in blood. We can now walk in sweet freedom.
Lord Jesus, how can I ever repay You for what You’ve done? Thank You for paying the debt for my life. Thank You for erasing my sin and calling me Your own. I am no longer a slave to sin or in debt to a holy God. I am a child of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Acts 10:43, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Arlene shared the mistake she made when she purchased the gumball machines. Are there mistakes you’ve made that you still think about? What does it mean for you that Jesus has marked “paid in full” over your debts?
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