Four weeks ago, we got a very important document in the mail. That document was worth $500,000.00. It was the document that stated that the loan on our church was paid in full. Needless to say, I was VERY excited to get that bit of paperwork. I immediately took that piece of paper to the courthouse so that it could be filed appropriately.
Apparently, I was beaming when I walked into the courthouse because the clerk immediately said, “You must have gotten some good news today.” I handed the envelope to her and she made a comment that stuck with me, “For it to mean so much, you would think that they would make it a nicer document.” She was right. This half a million dollar document was printed on plain old legal sized copy paper, not some fancy vellum or linen paper. It was scribbled on by various government agencies and notary publics. It was not a “clean” piece of paper by any means. Nor was it a crisp document. It had been folded to fit into a standard envelope and it had been somewhat mangled as it traveled in the mail from Sandy Springs to Newnan. You couldn’t even consider it a certificate, signed by some high-ranking official, just a bunch of legalese signed by faceless scribes. There were no bells, no whistles when you opened the envelope, lights didn’t start flashing, no confetti falling from the ceiling. It didn’t come by courier, UPS or FedEx, or even Priority Mail. It simply rode on the back of a plain old first-class stamp.
For a document that so significantly declared that our debts were paid in full, that half a million dollar piece of paper was relatively innocuous, anti-climactic at best.
Two thousand years ago, another very important message was sent to us. We were informed that another type of debt had been paid. This debt was so costly that it could only be paid with death. And much like our legal document, the confirmation of that debt payoff came with little glitz and glamour. There were no flashing lights – in fact darkness prevailed. One would think that something so valuable would have arrived with prettier packaging, a nice certificate, some fanfare, something to communicate its worth. Instead it was given to us on the back of a rugged cross. And though the presentation of this debt payment was less than glamorous, the value of it was unspeakable. The debt of which I am speaking is not some outstanding loan against a fallen emperor. It is much greater. It is the debt of our sin against a Holy God. And just as our financial debt was paid by the generosity of our church, our sin debt was paid by the grace of our God.
On this day that we celebrate the freedom of being free from our debts, we would be remiss to ignore the payment of our most grievous debt – our debt against God.
We have much to celebrate today. We celebrate as a church because of the amazing accomplishment of paying off our debt during a season when church foreclosures are on the rise and budget-busting building programs are crippling ministries. More than that, we celebrate that our spiritual debt has been paid in full! The psalmist declared, “Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so…” So, let us not be silent. Let us not withhold our voices. As the redeemed, let us sing our Redeemer’s praises and thank Him for His glorious provision. It’s a great day at Northside.