“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” Romans 13:8.

Mortgages. Loans. Cars. Taxes. These are items that many of us routinely pay throughout the year. I am a type-A personality, and owing anybody anything is not fun for me. As a matter of fact, I do all that I can to pay the person back as soon as possible. (It might also be the reason why I still have yet to own a house.) 

There aren’t many things in life that give me more joy than a letter or email that shows that a debt I was working off has been paid in full. I’m kind of disappointed that they no longer use a giant red stamp to mark the bill “PAID IN FULL.” 

The apostle Paul spends a lot of time in his letter to the Romans urging them to live godly lives, in particular, obeying and respecting their government and others in authority. But in Romans 13:8, he says that one debt in particular should never be marked PAID IN FULL. He says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” 

Jesus Christ loved us so much that he was willing to sacrifice his life in place of our own. Do you realize how great a debt that is? It’s certainly much bigger than a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage! Nothing that we do now could even come close to fulfilling that kind of debt. 

Should this cause us sadness and grief and, for type-A personalities like myself, anxiety that this is never going to be done? Absolutely not! Our thankfulness for the work of our Savior brings out joy and happiness in our lives. It is meant to alleviate fear and anxiety. 

With that joy and happiness secured in our lives, we now actively seek out ways to show love to others in this world. Showing love should never feel like a chore or a job. While writing a check to your bank might cause some frustration, greeting a visitor as they enter the church should always feel like a transfer of joy from you to that person. 

Paul continues in verse 8 and 9: “for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ 
‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” The law that is laid out for us has been paid by Jesus, but should no longer feel like a chore that will give us a reward. Now it feels like a privilege that we can do it out of love and thanks for God, as well as a mission to show that same love and thanks to other people. 

Never feel as if your work for others is complete. We’ll never get a billing statement from God. We should never finish an act and say, “I’m glad I’m done!” When one moment of showing love is complete, we should look around and say, “Where do I go next? What do I do? How can I continue to spread the love of Jesus that I have?”

We should always be glad it’s a debt that will never be paid in full.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for taking our sins away! Let us joyfully show our thanks to you by the actions that we lovingly do for others. Amen.