Before we begin, this week’s column is not about money. There will be no talk of any program to show you how to pay off your creditors quickly or an advertisement for a low-interest loan. I have never understood how borrowing money gets someone out of debt.
The Apostle Paul does talk about Christians being in debt. If you have your thinking caps on, you may think the debt we owe is to Christ. However, our salvation is a gift to us, and since it is a gift, it is free, therefore, we cannot repay God for our eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Paul, in talking about his desire to come to Rome and preach the gospel makes mention, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” (Romans 1:14).
Paul believed Christians have a debt to the rest of the world of getting them the gospel; we owe it to them.
Twice within the scripture is the gospel message told to the entire human race at one time. The first was back in the Garden of Eden when God gave the promise to Adam and Eve of a messiah (Genesis 3:15). The second is yet future. It happens during the Tribulation Period. It comes at a point where there is a good indication that there are not many Christians left, and most of those will be in hiding. An angel will preach “the everlasting gospel” to “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6).
The first time anyone hears the gospel, Jehovah Himself delivers the message; the last recorded time in the Scriptures it is an angel doing the preaching. All the other times in the middle is our responsibility – we owe it to the world.
God commands Christians to get the gospel message to everyone they can. He does this repeatedly throughout Scripture. Just a few examples are Matthew 10:7; 28:1-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 9:2, 62; Acts 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:2.
Paul explains to us the gospel consists of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “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 the third day according to the scriptures:”
Christians, how much are you in debt to the unsaved? The answer is in inverse proportion to how often you tell people God’s plan of salvation.
You may think, “I don’t know what to say?”
Well, telling people what Christ did for you is a good start. You do not have to be a Doctor of Theology to explain what has happened in your own experience. Tell them that you are sinner, that Christ died for your sin, and that He rose again the third day. Explain, to them, the circumstances in your life that led you to put faith in Christ as your Saviour. Share with them the verses God used to work on your heart.
The night I was saved, God used the verse Acts 26:28, “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” The preacher went on to explain that many people are “almost Christian.” If your neighbors were asked, “Do you think he will go to heaven when he dies?” The answer would be, “Yes.”
The evangelist described the All-American teen – Good grades, listened to mom and dad, decent at sports; if he were caught doing something wrong, everyone would be surprised, yet, with all that positive, hell was awaiting, because the person had not received God’s gift of salvation – I was a sinner without repentance. The preacher was describing me to a tee.
You have just read two paragraphs – the short version of my conversion to Christianity. If you are a Christian, you have at least that. Share that; tell people what Christ has done for you. Tell them your salvation story. You do not need to go into a deep exegesis; you do not even need to know what exegesis means. I had to look up how to spell it, but none of that matters to the salvation message.
How many people have you told? How many people are you in debt to, by not sharing with them the gospel?