But what if, out of sheer habit, we just kept making payments? What if we continued to write checks every month to old creditors even though our debt had already been taken care of? That's just crazy, isn't it?
Yet that is exactly what many of us do with our spiritual account with God. We keep trying to pay on our debt to Him even though He has already stamped it PAID IN FULL.
We often operate as if Jesus made a partial payment on our sin debt and that the balance is up to us. It's as if His grace wasn't quite enough to get the job done in putting us in right standing with God. We convince ourselves that we must rely on our works to fill the gap.
So rather than placing our trust fully in Christ to cleanse and redeem us we attempt to pay God back for the bad things we've done by doing even more good things. We set out to prove ourselves worthy of His forgiveness and grace with good and noble accomplishments. But, in doing so, we miss the main point of grace. We are not saved from our sins because of our goodness. We are saved because of God's goodness.
Our gracious God, solely out of His great love for us, sent His Son to the world to pay the price for our sins. Our debt was fully covered at the cross.
The last utterance of Jesus at Calvary was the gasp, "It is finished" (John 19:30). The Greek word used by the Apostle John in his account of the crucifixion of Christ is tetelestai--a word is found nowhere else in the Bible. It means fully completed, paid up in full, no longer having any outstanding debt. In that culture, the word was often written on business documents indicating that a bill had been paid. John's Greek readership would have made that connection immediately. There was no mistaking John's message: Christ died to pay for their sins. Fully. Completely.
If we find ourselves--out of guilt or obligation--still trying to cover the cost of our sins we need to let this incredible truth set in: Jesus paid the price so we wouldn’t have to. The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23, NLT).
Did you get that? Grace is a "free gift." It can never be earned. We can't possibly do enough good things in our lives to repay God. But, thanks be to God, we don't have to. Jesus paid it all. We can put our checkbooks away. Our account was closed at the cross.