Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Forgave him the debt

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished a to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.

When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’

And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:23-35)

The ESV Study Bible really helps with picture of this story from Jesus. It says of the phrase "forgave him the debt": "The forgiveness of such a massive debt (equivalent to $6 billion) is a dramatic illustration of (1) the massive debt that people owe, because of their sins, to the holy, righteous God; (2) their complete inability ever to pay such a debt (“For the wages of sin is death . . . ,” Rom. 6:23a); (3) God's great mercy and patience (Matt. 18:26, 29) in withholding his immediate righteous judgment that all people deserve for their sins; and (4) God's gracious provision of Christ's death and resurrection to pay the debt for sins and to break the power of sin (“but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom. 6:23b).

The two central points of the parable are: first, that the gift of salvation is immeasurably great (“how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” Heb. 2:3); and, second, that unless a person is comparably merciful to others, (a) God's mercy has not had a saving effect upon him (Matt. 18:32–33), and (b) he will be liable to pay the consequences himself (vv. 34–35)"

Thank you Christ for paying the debt I could not pay by going to the cross on my behalf.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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