Today our President and the Congress debate solutions to the Wall Street crisis of 2008; US politicians are on the TV and the radio, posturing. All this has become front page news and the lead story of media broadcasts because of the current state of the American economy.
You know it and I know it: any fix they come up with will be temporary, just like all the previous fixes. We can hope for some semblance of financial balance (i.e., restrained government spending, moral investment, honest and honorable leadership, wise and unselfish stewardship of accounts, etc), but given the track record of Washington and Wall Street, would you agree that our hope for long term financial solutions is on thin ice?
What makes matters worse is the financial track record of most Americans, period. I think most folks would agree with me again: we – ourselves – are not reliable when it comes to reigning in personal spending and making wise investment choices. Most Americans find it a daily challenge to restrain greed – our constant, enduring and ongoing lust for MORE. We want more of everything – more food, more X-Box games, more skin, more credit, more house, more … more … more!
We have a sin problem at the root of our financial problems. Actually, every human being has sin as the root of every problem.
Rather than talking about the sin problem, God came up with THE long-term (actually, an eternal) fix. He came up with THE cure. He provided THE answer. He has THE solution.
I love the language God and His servants used in the Bible to describe what He was prepared to do, and did, for mankind.
Jesus said, “… the Son of Man (talking about Himself) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a RANSOM for many.” The apostle Peter wrote, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were REDEEMED from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect … Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” (selections from 1 Peter 1:18-21)
Do you get it? God didn’t provide a temporary fix. He ransomed us. He redeemed us.
A ransom is a sum of money (or other kind of payment) demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner or a hostage. We humans are prisoners to sin. We are held hostage by sin. In Galatians 3:22 you can read it yourself. “But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin.” Jesus Himself said in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed …”
The word “redeem” is interesting, too. To redeem means to gain, or regain, possession of something in exchange for payment. It also means to pay the necessary money to clear a debt.
God paid a huge price … a priceless price, if you will … to buy us out of our slavery to sin. God paid for our sin. He paid blood-money. He paid in blood. His own blood. He paid, even though HE didn’t owe anyone anything. God, the Father, GAVE His Son … and the Son – Jesus – willingly, lovingly came to die for every sin-prisoner, everywhere, in every era.
If you’re up to your eyeballs in financial debt, hope and PRAY your government leaders do the right thing(s).
But if you’re aware that you’re up to your eyeballs in debt to God for your sin … your personal sin … PRAY. When you do, ask Him to apply the blood-payment Christ gave for everyone’s sin to your PERSONAL account. When you do that in faith and by faith, God wipes out your debt. He balances the books. He sets you FREE from the debtors’ prison of sin. He pays the ransom so that you can go free. He redeems you.
Today, the United States reels and staggers under the weight of huge debt brought on by stupid and/or greedy investments, unsecured debt, faulty lending practices, and selfish corporate and banking leadership. Contrast that with the weight of sin mankind has been crushed by since history began. You and I may not be in a place where we can remain unaffected by the state of the world’s sick economy, but we can do something about the weight of sin in our lives. Thank God (literally), your personal spiritual bankruptcy can be expunged – deleted, erased, and completely removed – by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. All you have to do is ASK. Just ask. Ask God to forgive your debt … and He will. Every time, for everyone.
Think about it.