Nothing to Pay

Luke 7:42  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 9
True, one of them was a debtor for five hundred pence, while the other owed only fifty; but they were alike in this, that neither of them had a farthing with which to meet their claims. Both were debtors, and both bankrupt debtors, and by-and-by both forgiven debtors; for if they were to go free at all, it is clear they must both alike be treated simply on the ground of mercy. And so their generous creditor "frankly forgave them both." The one who had owed the smaller amount had nothing to boast of, since he, in common with his fellow-debtor, was entirely unable, from his own resources to pay his debt, and the only difference between the two men now is, that the one who has been forgiven most, may well be expected to feel and manifest the most gratitude to his benefactor. Now, my dear reader, you know we all are debtors to the great God, in whom we live, and move, and Lave our being. I do not know whether your debt has been running for many or few years; whether you have been reckless in your transactions, or have reason to consider yourself more careful than men in general; whether your next door. neighbor owes ten times as much as you do, or you.owe ten thins as much as he. In other words, I du not, of course, know whether your life has been outwardly mural and decent, or immoral and profane, (foci knoweth. Y But be assured of one thing, in the sight of Him who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, you are in one common condition -with the one now addressing you, and with the very chief' of sinners, since He has plainly declared that "There is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." I know it is hard to give oneself. up as altogether ruined; people don't like to own their bankruptcy, much rather would they keep the shop open, and their-name over the door, and if there be no money to meet the demands of their creditors, they would fain conceal the disgraceful fact, even from themselves, and still more carefully from others. But, my friend, you cannot afford to act thus with regard to eternal things. For ought you know, the day of reckoning may be very near at hand, for it is in the Book of Truth declared that "every one of us shall give an account of himself to God," and, dear reader, is your account ready? Perhaps you hope it will be before the moment comes for you to render if to God. You know it is not now, for you must be conscious that you have been a sinner all your life, but you think that by-and-by, when you are placed in more favorable circumstances, and surrounded by fewer temptation's, you will be able to do better, and may perhaps with God's help, even clear off some of that long score of debts that you know is filed against you. Oh! many a one has fancied this, and so struggled on year after year, only sinking deeper and deeper in the mire, till at last they have given up in despair, and sunk to rise no more. You must have found out that your very nature is corrupt, and opposed to that which is. good, and how can you expect a bad tree ever to bring forth fruit, so good, and sound, and pure as to be acceptable to a thrice holy God? And if you were enabled to lead a new life, and never sin any more as long as you live, how could that possibly alter the amount of the debt already standing against you? Did you ever hear of a. man in business who forgave old debts simply on the ground of accounts being promptly settled in future? And do you expect the Judge of all the earth to be less just than a failing man? Forgive my pleading thus plainly with you, but it is no subject to trifle with Satan who seeks your soul to destroy it, would beguile your heart with flattering words and fair speeches-he would tell you that you are no worse than other people; you have done the best you could, and as God is merciful you have nothing to fear. But God, who indeed is "rich in mercy," and who seeks your soul to save it; yea, who is "not willing that any should perish," He sets before you the true state of things, and will you not listen rather to Him? Will you prefer hearkening to the voice of the old serpent who still lies in wait to deceive, as he did in the garden of Eden, where the belief of his vile falsehood was followed by such disastrous results? What if you are no worse than your neighbors; does that make you fit for God's presence? What if you have done the best you could: has not God declared that you were born in sin, and can a clean thing come out of an unclean? Has He not said that "they who are in the flesh cannot please God," and that even all our righteousnesses before Him are only as "filthy rags?" And if He be merciful, as indeed He is, for "He delighteth in mercy," yet, is He not righteous also? Has not His Majesty -been. offended, and will He exercise mercy at the cost of His infinite justice? By no means. But, you will inquire, who then can be saved? Since we all arc ruined sinners, helpless and undone, unable to clear the smallest of our debts, and God is holy, and by no means clears the guilty, what resource have we?—Ah! my dear fellow sinner, the answer is Jesus. "He took the guilty culprit's place, and suffered in his stead." He charged Himself with our liabilities, saying, as it were, to divine justice, "If he have wronged thee, or owed-. thee ought, put that to my account." And it was put to this account, and He paid it all, to the uttermost farthing: He went into the prison house of death, but it wits not possible that He could be detained there. All the debts for which He became responsible, were forever canceled, and He quickly left the tomb, returning to that home of glory He had left to accomplish salvation for you and me. Yes, Ile is now on high, the blessed witness that He has fully met the claims that God had against us; and now God can righteously in perfect consistency with all His attributes, forgive freely every poor sinner that believes in Jesus. Sin has reigned unto death, so that the sentence of death has " passed upon all men, for that all have sinned," but now through the blessed work of redemption, that Jesus finished once and fur ever on the cross, "grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life," so that God, "the high and lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy," can be "just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." I pray that you, my dear reader, may through His grace, discover and fully own the ruin and helplessness of your condition as God's bankrupt debtor, and that you may be led to believe on Jesus, who, " when we were without strength, in due time died for the ungodly." And having learned to bow before -.Him as a "Just God and a Savior," way every act of your life show -that your heart is indeed taken captive by the love of Jesus, as was the case with this poor outcast woman, who of old, embraced His feet, and washed them with her tears, and loved Him much, for she was much forgiven.
Behold the Lamb! 'tis He who bore
Thy burden on the tree;
And paid in blood the dreadful score,
The ransom due for thee.