There’s been a lot of talk about debt forgiveness lately. Specifically, student loan forgiveness. Earlier this week President Biden announced plans for student loan relief of over $1.3 billion. Roughly 40,000 permanently disabled Americans will see their debt wiped out. Just like that. Considering the money that has been thrown around in the last year, a measly billion dollars sounds like nothing at all, but for the individual borrower buried under a mountain of student loan debt, it could be huge. Quite frankly it could be life changing.
Many able bodied, working Americans view their student loan debt as an insurmountable burden. They are resigned to toil away under a cruel taskmaster hoping that their efforts will be good enough. Now put yourself in the shoes of the permanently disabled and try to imagine paying back the debt with no earning power. You have more in common than you might think.
Whether it’s student loan debt, mortgage debt, car debt, or credit card debt; you are in debt. Maybe you’ve declared financial independence and screamed your debt free scream. You still have debt. It was estimated in 2020 that for every child born there was $59,338 of national debt. That was before spending another $1.9 Trillion on stimulus measures this year. Can you imagine being born into debt? Well, you were, and so was I.
Today’s blog is not about financial debt. It’s not a rant about the state of our country. It’s not even about mismanagement of tax dollars, though it could be all of these things. No, this is about something bigger and more consequential than money. It’s about debt forgiveness.
This weekend, Christians around the globe will celebrate Easter. Maybe I have other things on my mind, but I can’t help but draw comparisons between what dominates the financial headlines, and the dominant theme of the Easter season. It’s debt forgiveness. Drawing the parallel, we humans are permanently disabled. We were born that way. The bad news is that we are all born into debt that none of us can pay. And unlike financial debt, we can’t kick the can down the road. We can’t print money, and we can’t adjust fiscal policy to make it go away. The debt is due, and it must be paid. We can’t rely on the government, and the president and congress is not our savior. We were born into moral bankruptcy, and bankrupt people cannot pay their debt. In fact, we add to it every day. The truth of the matter is that we need grace and mercy if we ever want to be free of the debt hanging around our necks. We have racked up a sin debt that goes far beyond any fiscal debt that we could ever imagine. Our debt is infinitely bigger, because the One that we owe is infinitely holy.
This post is about good news. I would be remiss if I stopped with the bad news. Easter is about a perfectly holy God, who sent his perfectly holy Son to take on human flesh. He did what no sinful man could do, He kept the perfect law of God. He kept it perfectly, and by suffering in human flesh, He satisfied the holy justice of God. He did this so those who believe and trust in His perfect work would not suffer the punishment that was due. Not only did He pay the debt, but He made it possible for men and women to be declared righteous, by being united with Him through faith. He took our sin, so we could receive his righteousness. And because He is perfectly holy, death cannot hold Him. On Easter morning He rose from the tomb, and because He lives, we too can live. Not only is the debt wiped out, but the reward of eternal life is also ours, if we believe. This is the ultimate debt forgiveness plan, and it’s been perfectly executed. Happy Easter, everyone.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-15