“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, the heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:16-17a)
Every morning when I get up, I follow the usual routine of getting dressed for work and then heading downstairs to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and a few bites of shredded wheat. I then take my issue of Tabletalk, read the daily devotion, and then spend some time in Bible reading and prayer. I used to also take a few minutes to glance at the morning paper but I’ve stopped doing this because it leaves me in too bad a mood for working on sermons later in the day. But some time or another before the day is over I do look at the paper to read the latest woes of crime and the economy. Sometimes I think the crime is the economy and how America has squandered so many of God’s blessings by greed, corruption, and ignoring the source of our resources (see last week’s sermon).
Crime and the economy are two very important issues to Americans, and they are important to God. However, with God their importance is on a deeper more spiritual level than failing bank accounts and gang activity in Santa Rosa. The issue with God is the crime that all are guilty of by our personal sins and the debt we owe to God because of this sinfulness. America may find a way out of its economic duress and the economy may become robust again, but when it comes to our debt to God there is none of us that will ever be able to pay it. The debt keeps mounting up day after day because there is not one day that goes by that we do not sin.
The newspapers tell us that houses are being foreclosed on in record numbers and the bankruptcy rates keep climbing. Many probably wish there was some great benefactor that would sweep in and pay up all their debt, give them an inheritance, and let them live on easy street from now on. A personal bailout would really be nice, wouldn’t it? I don’t know if that will happen to you; most likely it will not. But I can tell you something far more important. God has provided a way to solve your personal crime problem and He can take care of the debt against Him that you have accumulated since the day you were born. He will pay it all up and give you an inheritance richer than beyond your greatest hopes and dreams.
How does God do this? He paid the debt of sin by giving the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, as payment. Christ’s death on the cross is the only payment that God will accept for this great debt we owe. By faith in the blood of the cross, sins are forgiven and the debt is paid. This is wonderful news, but it gets even better. Faith in Christ brings us into a relationship with the Heavenly Father in which we become His children and receive rights to everything God owns, which is EVERYTHING! But wait, I still haven’t told you the best news of all. Even though it comes at great cost to God, it is totally free to you and me.
So, tomorrow before you pick up the newspaper, pick up the Bible because all of the information you need to receive this gift is written in God’s Holy Word. Then, it’s off to work you go free and clear!
Pastor V. Mark Smith