Today there's a lot of talk about debt. We have the national debt that's out of control. We have personal debt, which most Americans have way too much. We have corporate debt and the housing crisis all because our culture has borrowed our way to prosperity.
The Bible speaks volumes about prosperity, but mostly about a prosperity that comes to the soul that's right with God. The Bible also speaks much about debt and the bondage financial debt brings to a person. Like prosperity the Bible also speaks about another side of debt, the debt that everyone owes God. The debt you can not repay, the debt of Christ dying for your sin.
Then there is one more debt that the Bible brings to light. The debt Christians owe their neighbor.
Romans 13:8-10, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Jesus gave one commandment, to love like he loves us (John 13:34-35). He said that by keeping his command people will know that you're his follower. The Apostle Paul writes, "You are indebted to love" - and that's a debt worth keeping. When financial debt brings bondage and stress the debt of love brings freedom.
Our text says: "When you live in love, you fulfill all the commands." When the 10 commandments stand as a picture of God's perfection and a lofty goal for believers to live by, the harsh reality is that nobody has ever been able to keep God's law. But the law of love is different, when you live by divine love (Agape), you are keeping the commandments.
Wow, that's exciting, because it reminds me that it's not by legalistic ritual that anyone is made right with God. It's only by following the Holy Spirit that anyone has the capability to love that way. Who can love like Jesus? Humans are full of greed, envy, jealousy and suspicions, but God's love is perfect. How can you love with divine love? How can a man or a woman live in this debt of love? It's only by surrender to Christ and a constant infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 "...The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
First surrender to Christ as Lord, then follow the Holy Spirit, the result is love and all the virtues that love brings.
In a day when debt is on the minds of many, I believe its time to get back to the understanding that we are indebted to God and should be indebted to love others with the love that God has given to us (1John 4:7-8).
• Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of Carson Valley Ministers' Association.