A Debt That Was Cancelled

Read: Ephesians 2:4-9

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive, with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

A man named Henry Clay owed $10,000 to a bank in Kentucky. A number of sympathetic friends, knowing that Mr. Clay was troubled over his inability to pay, due to some unfortunate happenings in his life, secretly raised the money and quietly paid off his debt. When Mr. Clay later came to the bank to discuss his large indebtedness, the cashier startled him with the statement, “Mr. Clay, you don’t owe us anything!”

“Why, how am I to understand you?” he asked. Said the cashier, “A number of your friends have contributed and paid off your debt for you….you don’t owe this bank a dollar.” Tears rushed into Mr. Clay’s eyes, and, unable to speak, he walked away. His heart was overwhelmed by the joy of a great deliverance…deliverance from a crushing debt.

What a striking illustration of the central fact of the Christian faith! “And you, being dead in your sins,” says St. Paul, “has He quickened…having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting that was against us…nailing it to the cross.” That handwriting was the debt of unforgiven sin which stood against us in the court of heaven.

But the handwriting is now gone, destroyed, put aside, blotted out. Christ has paid the debt. At the foot of the cross on Calvary lies the handwriting that has been against us, its accusations forever covered by the redeeming blood of Christ. From heaven comes the divine acknowledgement: “Paid in full! Forgiven through the Savior!”

As we think about this heavenly transaction which freed us forever from a debt we could not pay, we can sing:

My soul looks back to see The burden thou didst bear
When hanging on the cursed tree And knows her guilt was there.
Believing, we rejoice To see the curse removed;
We bless the lamb with cheerful voice
And praise His bleeding love. Amen.

How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.