Who Owes Who?
There seems to be a general mindset among some Christians that because we have ‘given our lives to Christ’, He owes us. And what does He owe us? Well, every desire of our heart, of course! It is a sense of entitlement that needs to be addressed.
Let’s be honest. What is the one thing we all are entitled to?
That’s right…. death. Why?
“For the wages of sin is death,….” (Romans 6:23)
Yet Somebody died in our place so we could have life and that more abundantly. It would seem to me, then, that we are the ones who owe God. Even in instances where a human being saves another from death by jumping into the street to knock them out of harm’s way or rescuing them from a burning house or vehicle, the one who was saved feels eternally grateful and at the service of the saviour. How much more should we feel eternally grateful and eternally at the service of Christ who saved us from death both here and hereafter.
You might wonder what I mean by death here. I mean that while we were lost in our sins, captive to sin and under the control of the devil, we weren’t really living. We were actually dead.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
(Ephesians 2:1-2 NIV)
We might have looked good and even been considered successful by the world, but we were not really living, merely existing. We began to live when we were reborn by the Spirit of God. Now, in Christ, we have life – eternal life.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
(John 5:24 NIV)
So we owe God our very lives. He owes us nothing. He gave us everything when He gave us His only begotten Son to die in our place. What else has He given us?
1. Every spiritual blessing
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3 NIV)
2. Everything we need to live godly lives
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!
(2 Peter 1:3 MSG)
Everything God gives us in our daily lives, He gives out of His goodness because He delights in extending mercy to us and demonstrating His goodness. Not because He owes us anything!
So if we are agreed that we are actually the ones who owe God, what can we give to Him? Needless to say, we could NEVER repay Him for what He has done for us – washing our filthiness with the blood of Christ and covering us with royal robes of righteousness. All the offerings and tithes in the world could not repay our debt and neither could all the service we could render in His house but thankfully, that’s not what He really wants from us. So what does He want?
Very simple yet very challenging. You see, worship is not the songs we sing or the things we say. True worship is an offering of ourselves to God daily.
He wants us.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
(Romans 12:1 NIV)
Let’s see a translation that expands this verse to explain it more –
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. (AMPC)
Now, let’s see yet another translation to make it real, practical and applicable to our daily lives –
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (MSG)
God wants ALL of us – every aspect of our lives surrendered to His Lordship. It entails choosing Him over ourselves (our fleshly, carnal desires) at every point in time, like choosing to not have sex with that person you’re not married to because to do so would displease God; or choosing to be abused at work rather than join in some dishonest scheme; or choosing to do good to someone who did bad to you. It’s that practical. Does it mean we will always choose right? No. It however means that our heart’s desire will be to choose right (to please God) and when we mess up, we admit our error and repent because we acknowledge that we are the sheep of His pasture and we were created for His pleasure.
This is our true worship and what we owe Him.
Will you give God what you owe Him?