The Debt Paid
I once asked a man, “Do you think any bad people will be saved?”
“No; I think not,” was his reply.
“Then I have no chance,” I said. “Have you any?”
“Oh yes, I am not a bad man.” “But are you not a sinner?” “Oh yes,” said he, “We’re all sinners.”
I then told him that in God’s sight, all sinners are bad people, for the Word of God declares that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one,” Romans 3:12; and also that in the whole Bible there is no promise of salvation through Christ to any but to the bad. Good people would not want Christ to save them since they think they don’t need to be saved. I urged him to take his place as a sinner, and accept pardon through the death of Christ on his behalf, seeing that “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6.
That night, about 10:30, he came to the house where I was staying, and told me he was so troubled because of his sins that he could not go to bed. “I went home,” he said, “with those words ‘salvation for bad people,’ ringing in my ears. And now, I have come to ask you, ‘What must I do to be saved?”
“Have you found out that you are a sinner?” I said.
“I am a great sinner,” he replied.
“And where are your sins?”
“All on myself.”
“Then,” I said, “you are like one who has a heavy debt upon him, weighed down by the feeling that he cannot pay it.”
“That’s just what I am,” he replied.
“If you owed a large sum of money, and could not pay it, you would be afraid to go out, lest you should meet the sheriff; and if I went to the person to whom you owed it, and paid it for you, you would still be afraid to show your face, unless you knew that I had done so. But if I came and told you that I had settled the debt, you could walk out boldly, and challenge sheriff or creditor to touch you.”
“They could not lay a hand on me.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because the money was paid.”
“Yes, but you did not pay it.”
“That doesn’t matter — the money was paid and they couldn’t touch me.”
“Well,’’ I continued, “If you knew that God was satisfied about your sins, you wouldn’t be afraid to meet Him, would you?”
“God is satisfied in regard to your sins. We had nothing with which to pay, but Christ paid our debt with the price of His own precious blood; and He says: ‘His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.’ I Peter 2:24. We are redeemed ‘with the precious blood of Christ.’ I Peter 1:19. ‘The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53:6.’ So you see, God sent the Lord Jesus to pay the debt which we owed; and God is satisfied with Christ’s payment. Are you?’’
“I am,” he said, “and I come in repentance and faith to Christ, thanking God for it.”
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” Therefore He saith, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 9:28; 10:17. “He that… believeth… shall not come into condemnation.’’ John 5:24. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’’ I John 1:7.