"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Bankrupt For Jesus
The other day I ran across a bankruptcy lawyer’s commercial while doing research for a project on ministry debt. In that commercial, it stated there are two types of personal bankruptcy in this country, chapters 7 and 13. The lawyer was advertising for chapter 13. The ad shouted, “it costs only $99 month and your debt can be erased!” He continued, “Stop the harassing collection calls and contact us today!” “Only $99 and your worries can be eliminated!” Sounds like a bargain doesn’t it? It’s a great deal especially if you’re say $50k, $100k in debt.
There’s only one problem. That payment is based off your income which is determined by the court and the only way you are paying $99 a month is that you don’t have much income. On top of that, the lawyer gets most of that money and only a couple of debtors get a portion of what’s owed. You have to complete every payment for 3-5 years before your debts are cleared. If you pay all your payments on time up to the last couple of months and then default, your debts remain! Your name and debts are not cleared! What they also don’t tell you is that if you go ahead and make the sacrifice of paying more now by filing chapter 7, your debts are cleared in full. Depending on your assets and possessions of value and have your debts eliminated if qualified. Chapter 7 obviously seems like the better deal long term.
I understand that it’s probably hard to come up with the money needed to make a lump sum payment like that. In a situation where you are already behind on bills, but need to scrape up possibly a couple thousand dollars is nearly an impossible task. But isn’t it easier just to go ahead and get it over with? Aren’t you going to have to eventually pay someone before they garnish your wages and take your possessions? Paying your debts back in this way will be heavy burden and well over your ability to pay back? Sometimes, the load can begin to pile up more than we can bear. It seems the further you get burdened down, the faster it grows. The system also seems to be working against you, most likely because it is. There has to be a way out, an emergency exit that allows us to take the pressure off.
Listen, I’m not advertising for bankruptcy, promoting financial advice, or financial irresponsibility today. What I am pointing out really is just the obvious. What do you do? You would under reasonable circumstances take the easier road out which is the chapter 7. However, if you just can’t reasonably make the lump sum you at least file the 13 because you have no other choice in a situation where you have no money or income to pay off such large amounts of debt. It is easier to pay back a lawyer in payments for a total amount of around $5,000-6,000 than to pay $50,000 or even 100k back in debt. A debt such as this can be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back.
This morning, whether you knew it or not, you owe a debt. This debt cannot be restored in monetary or periodic payments, rather it is a debt that can only be paid by ransom. This debt was amassed by the sins we have committed against God and against one another. We are all guilty of those sins as the Word of God tells us:
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We certainly face eternal death and suffering if we do not clear those debts of sin before we die. There may never be a tomorrow for any of us, so it’s best we clear those debts today! I come by to tell you today about a bankruptcy lawyer named Jesus who can clear any debt. He’s already paid the price for your sins and my sins today. You can’t pay these sins off in 3-5 years, no not even in a lifetime. There is only one payment plan for this debt, and that is Calvary. The price was paid on the cross in the blood of Christ. Our sins can be washed away this morning and the debts cleared from the ledger. However, this type of debt forgiveness requires one thing from us. That is the commitment of our hearts and lives to Christ, the ultimate debt reliever.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jesus, being made perfect and knowing no sin, allowed himself to be sacrificed on the cross for the debts of you and me! We can spend our lives and all of eternity paying our chapter 13 payments back to Satan, or we can start with a new and clean slate today with Christ! Will you trust Him today? He’s already cleared the debt for us. He’s just waiting on you to make your mark on the line. Are you willing to commit to Him, to taste and see that He is good? The only down payment to pay is the burden of our hearts and minds. The only lump sum our bankruptcy lawyer Jesus expects is the humble heart of a broken and weary sinner. Give him you heart today and have your debts be forgiven. That heavy burdened soul inside of you is begging for this relief and this freedom. Step out of those chains of bondage this day, step out of the debt to sin, to lust, to greed, to restlessness. Step out, step out, and step into the arms of Jesus this morning!
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Make that commitment today and allow Jesus to repay that debt for you! The greatest thing about all this is, we don’t lose anything in the process of receiving this redemption and debt relief. We are not going before a trustee in a hearing today, Jesus has done that for us already. As a matter a fact, He sits at the right hand of the trustee (The Father) speaking on our behalf and writing our name down in the book of life. He’s jotting the note that our debts have been cleared for good. Our savior is so good that, just in case we do mess up again, He’s already taken care of that as well. All we have to do is turn in our ledger again by humbling ourselves before him and He can once again purify our hearts. In the process of our turning to Christ, we also in the process get the ultimate debt counselor in the Holy Spirit to advise us and guide us from racking up such debt in the first place. He’s knocking on your heart today! If you’ll just let Him in, He can let you in to the Kingdom of Heaven. Don’t wait! There may never be another tomorrow. You may never get a chance to claim this debt relief in the future. Trust in Jesus and call upon him right where you are!