Has Anyone Ever Paid Your Debts?

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:27–31 (NIV) 

Consider This

Most everyone understands what it means to carry debt and the onerous burden it can impose over time. Many people work very long and diligently to pay off all their debts and when they get to the last penny it is an occasion of exuberant celebration. It evokes an appropriate kind of pride-filled boasting in them to be debt free. It is the kind of thing you want others to know about and celebrate with you.

There is a similar sense of pride in legalistic types of religious people about their hard-fought rule-keeping righteousness. They want others to know and they find ways of letting their righteous deeds be known. There are brazen ways of wearing one’s religion on one’s sleeve and then there are quite sophisticated ways of doing so. Jesus hates this. He loves the humility of hidden righteousness and the quiet deeds of secret goodness.

My friend Brent is a pastor at a local church in the next town over.1 A few years back he was carrying a significant student loan debt dating back to his seminary education. One day he learned that the church which had planted his church campus had a program to help their pastors retire their seminary debts. Brent went to the administrator and inquired. She told him the church would pay up to half of his school debt. He reported that he had been making a hefty monthly payment for years which had been a real struggle for his growing family. He commented how he wished he had known about this earlier as it would have helped. He had already paid half of the debt. The Administrator reported even better news—they would pay the debt retroactively. She said to Brent, “You are now debt free!”

I love what Paul says in today’s text—Where, then, is boasting?

This is the moment when you begin to boast in Jesus. It’s one of those big moments when Jesus pays a small debt for you. Now, imagine, having the unpayable debt of your soul, paid in full by Jesus, by his atoning blood. It is not only the retirement of the capital S Sin debt but the reversal of bankruptcy and all its penalties and ruinous consequences. It means the restoration of your full faith and credit. It means being made better than whole. As bad as the present day and future consequences of our inherited debt of Sin and all the debts and interest we have personally added—that is how good and even greater are the consequences of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. And as we will see through the unfolding letter to the Romans, it is not a mere future benefit to be received at our death. It is an overwhelming gift of abundant life beginning immediately.

Few things are more surprising and joyful than when someone comes in and pays your debts with no expectation of being paid back. This is what Jesus has done for us beyond belief. It’s why it requires faith to realize it. This is what it means to be saved by grace through faith. Faith is not assenting to the truth of something arguably real. No, faith is the complete reliance on the reality of something demonstratively true. Faith does not mean, “I believe in Jesus. ” Faith means, “I belong to Jesus.”

(And if you have another few minutes, read my own extraordinary story of someone paying my debts in the note below.) [note 2]


Jesus, we belong to you. Yes, Jesus, I belong to you. These are not the mere words of my mouth. They are not merely the hope of my aspiration. No, these words are the bedrock truth of my reality. I belong to you and you belong to me. This is my life. You are my life. I welcome the fullness of your durable reality right here and right now. Thank you for paying my debt in full. Thank you that your credit is now my credit. Holy Spirit, please awaken me to fully realize these eternal verities as realities on which I stake everything. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.


  1. Brent Parker is my friend and he is the pastor of the Woodforest campus of The Woodlands Methodist Church here in The Woodlands, Texas, where I live. Brent and I are leading the cohort of churches and pastors (about 200) who are journeying through Romans with us and preaching each Sunday. Every Tuesday afternoon we host a Zoom meeting with Jesus where we pray for the churches and each other, delve into the Romans chapter of the week, explore angles for preaching and sermon development, and otherwise encourage each other for ninety minutes. If you are a pastor and would like to get in on this you can register here. Seedbed does this at no charge as a gift to the churches and the kingdom and for the awakening.
  2. As many of you are aware, the last ten years of my life have been filled with extraordinary challenges. I won’t go into it here other than to say that in 2020 my twenty-five-year marriage came to a tragic end. I referenced the other day that I might know a little something about the brink of bankruptcy. Part of the challenge I faced in the aftermath of the end of the marriage was significant debts. One early morning, Bill and Phyllis heard Jesus call them to pay J. D. Walt’s debts. Not knowing the amount or extent, they contacted me and shared their intention. Later that day they did it. I can’t begin to tell you the enormous blessing and gift this was to me—to all of a sudden become free of multiple debts it would have taken decades for me to repay—especially in the face of the reality that I would soon be responsible for four children in college at the same time. It was one of the signal “God moments” in my life for which I will be eternally grateful. Beyond the money, it represented to me something well past what words can convey—the extravagant love of God. I wanted to encourage you that these kinds of saints are among us and I wanted to thank them yet again—this time publicly—should they be reading today. They are truly extraordinary people who have not only blessed me personally but who have blessed this mission called Seedbed in an even far greater measure.



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