What’s your biggest debt?

For most people, the answer to that question would be their mortgage. After scrimping and saving for a long time, often years, using the money to put a down payment on a house is one of the biggest financial steps families ever take. Different rules apply to mortgages in various countries, especially regarding the size of the down payment required. But in most cases, whether you’re a family making a home purchase or a church buying a place of worship, the new property comes with a hefty monthly payment on the mortgage. A payment that is likely scheduled to continue for 30 years.

On March 22, 2014 one of the largest landslides in state history occurred near Seattle Washington. The slide inundated an area of just over one square mile with mud, water and debris in less than a minute. It took 43 lives and 42 homes down the side of the mountain with it. 30 of those 42 homes in the destroyed neighborhood were primary residences. None of those 30 had landslide insurance. And just about every one of them belonged to low-income families who were left without a home, without hope — but WITH their mortgage.

Tim Ward lost his wife and his house on the same day. Rescued alone in the initial hours after the slide, he was airlifted to the local trauma center with a crushed pelvis. At some point later on, I’m not sure exactly when or how, he was informed that they had identified his wife’s body. All that Tim had left in the world was his dog Blue (who lost a leg after being trapped under a fallen tree for three days) and his $360,000 mortgage.

Then, after reading about Tim’s plight in news coverage, an anonymous donor contacted the bank holding the mortgage and paid it off. In full.

Today’s verse tells us:

Tim Ward owed a debt he could not pay. The investor who stepped in paid a debt he did not owe. It was an act of grace, pure and simple. No one could have compelled the man to pay it off. He was under absolutely no obligation to do so. But a special sort of selfless love and compassion moved him. He freed Tim from his debt.

For followers of Jesus, we are in a very similar situation. There’s an old Christian chorus that says, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay; I needed Jesus to take my sins away.” Jesus told His followers that He didn’t come to be served but to serve. He continued on and said that He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He steps in and ransoms us. He doesn’t use dollars or dinars, shekels or rupees. Jesus purchased us with His own blood, shed for us as He exchanged His life for ours.

The price demanded by sin is death. So, to satisfy that price, SOMEONE must die. Christ died once for all. Then He rose from the grave, alive once again. Since He was perfect and sinless, He is able to save to the uttermost anyone who comes to God through Him. Anyone, and everyone. But if I refuse to accept HIS death as the price for my sin, then there is only one person left who can pay that price; and that person is me. One of us – me or Jesus – will pay the ultimate price.

Can you imagine Tim Ward’s reaction upon being told that a man he’d never met had just agreed to pay off his entire mortgage? I can!!! I wasn’t there, of course; but I can imagine a man set free from such a crushing burden shouting out loud in celebration, probably overcome and crying tears of joy. I’d imagine his first question would be, “Can I meet him?” or “How can I possibly thank him?”

I’ll tell you what I CANNOT imagine. I can’t imagine Tim declining the offer. I can’t picture him saying, “Uh, no thanks; I’ll figure it out on my own.” Nope. No way.

But I’ve known people who are facing a debt orders of magnitude larger than just a mortgage of a few hundred thousand dollars, a debt that will quite literally take them eternity to pay; and they’re not interested in the generosity of a gracious benefactor. Perhaps they hope that, if they ignore the debt, it will just disappear. But it won’t.

So Christ gave Himself for us, He gave Himself as a ransom. He stands there offering to GIVE YOU the full price demanded by your sin; giving Himself to set you free from the power of sin that leads to death. And His offer is freely given.


We who do belong to Him have been set free. Sin has no more power over us. Sin no longer has the power to lead us to death, because we have been given life. No repossession, no foreclosure. Freedom.

But before we finish, can I tell you something else I CANNOT imagine. I cannot imagine Tim Ward heading back over to his Chase Bank and offering to make another mortgage payment or two. In real life we’re smart enough not to pay bills more than once. A paid bill is, well, PAID!

But when the enemy of our souls reminds us of our past sins, he attacks us with guilt and tries to draw us back under bondage. We who have been redeemed have no business submitting ourselves again to his lies. He cannot demand anything from us. The power of Christ has freed us from the power of sin.

That leaves us with the FIVE KEY WORDS that unlock this entire promise. BECAUSE YOU BELONG TO HIM.

Do you?

If so, then walk in your freedom and enjoy the life Christ has ignited within you. The answer to the question, “How can I possibly thank Him?” is a simple one. Press on and take hold of everything for which He took hold of you.

But if you’re reading about this incredible offer and don’t know Jesus personally yet, I hope you’re asking the other question I expect Tim Ward asked when he found out his largest debt had been paid — “Can I meet him?”

Unlike Tim’s benefactor, your rescuer does NOT want to remain anonymous. In fact, He wants you to know Him very, very well. He wants to have a relationship that begins with His generous gift and grows from there.

You and Tim Ward are both the recipients of incredible offers.

He accepted his, and it changed his life.

You’ve got an offer to pay off much more than just a mortgage.
You’ve got an offer for eternal life.
What are you going to do with it?

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