First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Paid in Full!

September 9, 2016

    Going in debt ain't high on my list of things to do. Yet, eleven years ago, I signed on the dotted line to get a loan for education (actually, one of several). In our case, Tracie used her financial savvy to pay the bills and we worked to produce the capital to do so. We kept faithful to our call to ministry and to our responsibility to cover the loans with timely payments. 

    Well, the other day, I received an email from the lending institution. Hmm, what do they want now?? Usually, the emails are reminders to pay the bill or in one case they sent a warning message that we were close to the due date. This letter (shown below) popped up on the attachment.

                                      Hal-le-lu-jah! Hal-le-lu-jah!.... (sung to the Hallelujah Chorus, Handel)

    The great feeling of relief when a debt has been vanquished is cause for celebration. I actually wanted to do a backflip. Instead, I raised a clenched fist and gave a short muffled, "Yes!"  

    Hear me on this. I am in no way equating obtaining an education with sin. Did you catch that. I also am not equating being released from our sins by some sort of hard 'bill paying' work ethic on our part. Like we could actually atone for our own sin!! Education is meaningful and helps expand our base of knowledge and understanding. Sin is destructive and can only be cared for by the Lord God Almighty.

    In parallels that only God can do, our sin is canceled out. While we strive to pay our monthly payments to dissolve the loan, we can never pay down, fix, or eradicate the curse of our sins. The debt we incur when sin enters our life places us in a prison of sorts. We struggle under the weight of this burden and need someone to lift that heavy yoke. We try. We really get creative in addressing our sins. In some ways, we work harder, we give more time to a charity, or we deny a problem exists. Yes, doing nothing is a way to address a sin.  

    The other day, we did a little celebrating over a debt being paid in full. Every day should be one of celebration when we consider God paying our sin debt.  It is paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ. Our only decision and action is to acknowledge our sin, confess it, repent of it, and seek this gift of God's mercy. 

    That first day of the week when the women found the tomb empty was and still is the turning point in God footing the bills we incur in our sins. Accept his grace today and prepare to receive a letter that says, "We are contacting you to congratulate you. Your debt has been paid in full."

        "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received

        from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.        

        (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV)

Freedom from loan debt doesn't compare to receiving freedom from sin debt. Give thanks and honor God with your sacrifice of praise and service today!

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