Wednesday, May 09, 2012

happy debt

John Piper in Bloodlines:

This is a debt to all sinners. It is the kind of happy debt awakened by the experience of God’s grace in Christ. Paul said in Romans 1:14, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” (KJV). What did he mean by that? He meant that, owing to nothing in himself, Jesus had called him and forgiven him and accepted him and promised him everlasting joy in the presence of God.

As he looked around at the “Barbarians” and “Greeks,” he saw people who were just as undeserving of grace as he was. Neither he nor they had any right to the grace of God. But here he was—the “foremost” of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)—overwhelmed with Jesus’s redeeming love. The effect this had on Paul was to give him a joyful sense of indebtedness to all other sinners like himself.

The debt was not to complete Jesus’s payment for sin; it was the overflow of the fullness of that payment. “I owe you the gospel” did not mean “You deserve it.” It meant, “I did not deserve it either, and by its very nature it cannot be hoarded. I must tell you the gospel or I will deny the grace reigning in me.”

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