Can You Make Payment?

©copyright 2007 brother Michael

In America we have witnessed a major collapse in the housing market due to many factors but one primary reason is that people who did not have the financial wherewithal to make payment for this debt went ahead and acquired the loan anyway. In time, whether due to rising interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages, loss of a job, or just the reality of an unwise decision, these debtors were unable to make payment. Subsequently, defaults on loans started occurring the nation over which have rumbled through the global economy like a magnitude 7 earthquake swallowing many a family into the gaping mouth of foreclosure and bankruptcy.

It goes without saying that for these families this time has been most traumatic as so many have lost their beloved homes and been thrust into a very uncertain and stressful time. A time that for many could have been totally avoided if they had listened to the voice of wisdom who “…standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths…[and cries out] O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart [for] …[t]he rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Prov 8:2,5; 22:7)

Heavenly Debt Owed by All

Yet today I am not writing about wisdom in financial matters, as important and life changing these can be, but rather about matters of infinitely greater concern. For I write not about earthly debts owed to the rich men of the earth and the banking elite, no, rather I write about the heavenly debt owed unto the Sovereign God of the universe. A debt owed by all peoples of all religious beliefs the world over who believe they have the means within themselves to pay this debt. Included in this list are peoples of all religious and non-religious beliefs including those professing to be Christians or Buddhists, Catholics or Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, atheists or agnostics it matters not. For all who believe they can pay this debt by their works, “goodness” or charitable deeds are included in this list.

So what is this heavenly debt? Well, it is that owed to the Living God in heaven above where every individual as noted above will be required to make payment for the sins they have committed during their sojourning on this earth. Sins which equate to violations of God’s commands whether committed in thought, word, deed or omission. Sins or works of the flesh which are all recorded in God’s books. With payment required on the day the Scriptures call the day of judgment when men great and small will stand before the Great God seated on his heavenly throne and have to give their accounting.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)

These amazing and terrifying words reveal the payment required in order to settle the books with regard to a person’s sins and the debt they owe to God. A payment one will not make with silver or gold, prestige, reputation or charitable deeds but rather with their very life as “…the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23) This death known as the second death where countless individuals, both body and soul, will be cast into the lake of fire.

A casting into this lake of fire when tears and cries will be met with deafening silence, and pleadings for second chances ignored as the books are already written such that no work of man can erase their indelible words. No, rather today, while you are still breathing and on this side of eternity, is the day for you to get right with God. For today, even as you read these very words, you can get right with God where you will never have to make payment for your sins. Instead, you can receive payment in full for all debts owed unto God for your sins.

The Debt Has Been Paid

God the Father, out of unfathomable love, sent his Son from heaven to pay the debt owed for sin. For it was he, Jesus the Saviour, who came as the “lamb of God” to pay the ultimate payment for sin with his very life. Coming to earth to take “…away [make payment for] the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29)

Peter writes to fellow believers of this sacrifice of Jesus Christ of whom he says “…his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” (I Pet 2:24a) Here, Peter is telling these believers that Jesus Christ bore in his own body not just sins, but their sins. The apostle Paul likewise testifies to Jesus’ redemptive work where he tells the Ephesian Christians that both he and they “…have redemption through his [Jesus’] blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Eph 1:7)

This is known as the gospel, or good news, yea rather tremendous news, of Jesus Christ where God shed abroad his riches to pay man’s sin debt. A gospel summarized beautifully by Paul who writes:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (I Cor 15:1-4)

Indeed, Jesus Christ paid the debt for sin and his resurrection from the dead on the third day bears witness to the fact that the Father accepted his payment in full. A resurrection that was witnessed to by the well over five hundred persons.

And that he [Jesus after his resurrection] was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve [disciples]: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep [dead]. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (I Cor 15:5-8)

And all one has to do is believe in this gospel, or good news, repent (i.e. turn) from their sins and follow Jesus Christ by living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Not religion, not works, not internal goodness, but rather faith that “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth [those who believe] from all sin” (I Jn 1:7) and that it is only his blood and your faith in it which will satisfy divine justice.

The Proud Reject the Payment

It seems so easy what we have written above. Just faith, that is belief, in what another has done so as to appropriate his righteousness and receive his payment for your sin debt. But mankind is so prideful because he always wants to have a hand in things. Always wants to be the one who gets the credit even if such feelings are masked by a false humility. I know for I have seen this pride in my own life where at times I do not want to pray for help in a certain area of my life because I want to do it on my own. Needless to say an abomination in God’s eyes. Sort of reminds me of Frank Sinatra who sang “I did it my way.”

This doing it “my way” is precisely what men do with regards to Jesus Christ. Consider the countless Jews who reject God’s offer to be free from sin because Jesus does not fit their Talmudic interpretation of the Old Testament. For they, by their deeds and actions, repeat the words of their Pharisaical fore-fathers and say “[w]e be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” (Jn 8:33). In essence saying that they do not need to be set free from sin because of the fallacious belief that their bloodline and lineage to Abraham in and of itself makes them right with God.

So too will many Muslims reject Jesus because their doctrine declares that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and God has no son. Hence, no Son, you have no shed blood and sacrifice; no sacrifice and you have no payment for sin, and if you have no payment for sin from another, then you have to pay yourself.

And certainly those who reject Jesus are not limited to being Jews and Muslims only but rather are found in all religions and individuals who think they have some other way to get into communion with God other than through the door, that is Jesus.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” (Jn 10:1)

It is these persons, unless they repent and accept Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son and the sole means for their being saved from their personal sin, then they will die in their sins.

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.�” (Jn 8:24)

And it is these who, on judgment day, will stand before the throne of God and because of their rejection of God’s payment for their sins, be cast into the lake of fire thereby dying the second death from which there will be no resurrection.

Professing Christians Reject the Payment

These truths the Scriptures affirm and I hold to them regarding Jesus’ sacrificial death. But so do countless individuals who profess to be Christians yet their doctrine or that of their church denies Jesus as being the only payment required for sin so as to satisfy divine justice. One group in particular I try to help see this fact are the Roman Catholics. A religion that out of one side of her mouth professes Jesus Christ as being God’s sacrifice for sin, yet out of the other side of her mouth says that there are things you must do to be right with God and satisfy the heavenly debt you owe.

A topic I am only introducing here and in no way exhaustively studying today. But what I have found, both in practice as a faithful Roman Catholic for nearly two decades before being delivered from her, and in studying her doctrine since then, that with Rome Jesus Christ is never enough. Not enough for salvation, not enough to satisfy divine justice, and not enough to keep you in the faith.

An area which highlights this is found briefly addressed in a paper on presumption about Rome’s false doctrine of penitential acts as being required payment for sins to satisfy divine justice. For Rome says that you, as a finite, sinful human being, can make, yea must make, contribution to the debt owed the Father because of your sins. A contribution you make through rote prayers, fastings, pilgrimages and any number of other fleshly prescriptions prescribed by the priest after your confession.

This is most ludicrous because we are not talking about making amends with a fellow sinner we have sinned against but rather the infinitely perfect, Holy and Righteous God. And as an infinite God only the blood from his Son, that is the Son of God, could ever satisfy divine justice. Anything else is like a destitute pauper jailed for crimes against the state trying to buy his way out of prison with pennies instead of humbly falling at the feet of the king and begging for mercy.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. (Mat 18:23-27)

The point I want to make in particular to Roman Catholics in love, but also to all who read, is that you cannot satisfy divine justice through what your priest or religious leader tells you to do. The payment was made such that your debt will be forgiven, but not if you continue to try to pay on your own. Here, you must realize that you have neither the funds nor the means to make payment to God.

And if you continue to hold to Rome’s teachings or that of your religious leaders who deny Christ’s payment in full, then I liken you unto a person who entered into a debt agreement for which you never had the means to pay. A debt for which you labored and toiled night and day your whole life in order to make the payments only to realize at the end of your days that you did not even make a dent in the monies owed. Now, you are broken in body from all the long hours of toil and sacrifice to make payment every month, your savings are exhausted, and the bank is preparing on selling you, your family and all that you owe in order to collect their monies due.

Then, during what is your darkest hour you receive word from a trustworthy source that a rich King and his Son, the prince of his Father’s kingdom, has made payment on your behalf such that your debt is paid in full. And all you need to do is to acknowledge and confess this payment and to place yourself under the rule and authority of the Prince of this kingdom. But you refuse. Refuse out of pride and not wanting to be under the authority of another, refuse because you grew up hating this Son and his kingdom, refuse because you fear what others will think as you publicly reveal your poverty, or refuse because you already have a prince you love and dutifully serve.

Regardless of the reason one refuses God’s Son, Prince of his heavenly kingdom, as payment for their sin debt, the end result will be the same as all who do so will die in their sins. And, after being raised from the dead and standing before the judge of all the earth, they will be cast into the lake of fire from which there will be no second resurrection.

The Humble Accept the Payment

But such an end not be for you for it is written that if “…[t]oday if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Heb 3:15) For salvation is available to the most vile of sinners as well as the most “holiest” of religious persons. But you must repent and you must believe; both of which will require you to humble yourself before God and yes, even men.

Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 18:3-4)

I hope and pray that today all who still owe this sin debt will humble themselves and accept God’s one and only acceptable means for payment – this being the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ.