What do we owe Jesus? “Everything,” you might say. But does that cover the cost of salvation? Absolutely not! Then how can we ever have it?
Moved by grace, God doesn’t require us to come up with the full payment. Not even close. The price of salvation ― Jesus’ righteous life lived on our behalf and His dying in our place ― is of infinite value. One we can never pay on our own.
Compared to what Jesus paid, we’ve all been offered salvation at an astronomical discount. The discount, however, consist of everything we have, all that we are, and everything we hope to be!
Still, that is but a penny against our mountain of debt. But as with the destitute widow in the temple, when we give all that we have with humility and sincerity, it becomes a sufficient token of faith that moves God to grant us all the riches of salvation in Christ.
Does Jesus expect repayment, as if each week we manage not to mess up royally is an installment against what we owe Him? No! Christianity is not a debt collection program. In fact, we will never stop being indebted to Jesus.
As John Piper puts it, “You shouldn't think of obedience as a mortgage payment, trying to pay God back month by month until you get the debt paid off. Rather, we should think that obedience is going deeper in debt to God every moment, because it takes more grace to be obedient this afternoon than I had yesterday.”
The redeemed serve and obey Jesus out of thankfulness for all that He has done for us. We follow Jesus today out of anticipation for all the good gifts He plans to work in and through us the rest of our lives.
Jesus, thank you for accepting the small token of my whole life as an act of faith in you. Thank you for living the perfect life I could never live and for dying the death I deserve. I trust and obey you today, confident in the beautiful and good things you have in store for me. Amen.
Go deeper — Are you trying to pay back Jesus through your performance? Read Stop Trying to Get Right with God! and start serving God with a heart at rest, assured of your salvation.