Paid in full
Published 3:31 pm Friday, April 6, 2018
While we prepared to hurry off on a shopping trip last week end, I grabbed a gift card from off the dresser in case we decided to use it at the sandwich shop it was from. The card had been lying there for awhile and I did not know how much—if any—funds it had available. Later in the evening we went into the sandwich shop and placed our order and very shortly it was prepared by the nice young lady who had taken our order. She told me that our bill was twelve dollars and some change, so I pulled out the gift card to see if it would cover it. To my delight, after she ran the card she told me that my balance was a little over seven dollars. I was delighted, thinking that the card must surely have had a value of twenty dollars; I was already looking forward to coming back again so I could use the remaining funds on my gift card. But as I got ready to take our food to the table, I noticed that it became mighty quiet at the checkout counter. After a brief time of standing there, my wife gently and politely informed me that I owed the cashier seven more dollars.
As I age, it seems to be getting easier to get things mixed up. Maybe when they see me coming into the sandwich shop again with another of those green gift cards they will be sure to tell me it is balance owed and not balance remaining for my later use.
Earlier today I went by the local medical clinic to settle up a bill; the insurance company had paid a good portion of it, but I still owed the remainder. It was my responsibility to take care of it and I did. But what if I had been penniless at the sandwich shop or empty of funds when the medical bill came? I am sure I would have walked out of the restaurant with no food and I would be seeking some means to meet the financial demands of the medical bill which I was clearly obligated to pay.
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Having just celebrated Easter, it has been a good time for us to reflect upon the settling of a spiritual penalty that we could never repay ourselves. Out of His great compassion, God made a way for us through Christ to take care of what we owed that we could never pay. What we owed was the price for our sins so we could be found pleasing to God, but no matter how many good works we could do they would never be adequate to make our sins go away and allow us to achieve right standing with God. Thankfully, Christ came and paid our sin debt as He died on the cross.
Among the things that we can rejoice in regarding the provision of Christ for us is that He made a complete payment on our behalf. Unlike my experience at the sandwich shop, we do not have to stand before God and be informed that Christ took care of a large portion of what He requires of us but we will have to earn the rest. What Christ did was not partial, it was complete. The words of 1 Peter 3:18 put it well: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” (New International Version).
Christ paid the entire price in order that we can believe on Him and have eternal life. There is no balance due on our spiritual account. Yet our gratitude for His immeasurable gift should move us to serve Him and seek to live righteous lives, not to earn His favor, but to express our love to Him for Who He is and what He has done for us.